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Clippers at Sacramento - Game Preview

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2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
Clippers_medium
vs.
832_medium
24-34
19-39
Arco Arena
February 28th, 2010, 6:00 PM
FSN Prime Ticket, 980 AM
Probable starters:
Baron Davis PG Tyreke Evans
Eric Gordon SG Beno Udrih
Rasual Butler
SF Omri Casspi
Drew Gooden
PF Carl Landry
Chris Kaman
C Spencer Hawes

 

The Back Story:

  • February 20th in LA, Clippers 99 - Sacramento 89 -  Recap  Box Score

The Big Picture:

The Clippers had won three straight at home, beginning with a win over these Kings eight days ago.  That streak ended when they went on the road to Phoenix.  Now we'll see if they can get a road win against a lesser opponent.  The Clippers will field a stronger team than the won one that won by double digits against Sacramento last week - Drew Gooden and Travis Outlaw had yet to make their Clipper debuts as of that game, and Baron Davis sat out with a sore back (something I can relate to as I write this preview tonight - I may have to cut it short).  During their relatively strong recent play, team depth has been a definite strength, so it should make a difference have Gooden and Outlaw and Davis available tonight.  The good news from Phoenix is that Chris Kaman should be pretty fresh, since he decided to get tossed and take the second half off.  The bad news is that Craig Smith was dealing with a leg issue, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's limited tonight.  Eric Gordon scored a season high 30 the last time these teams met, and 25 Friday in Phoenix, so he's in a pretty good place right now.  His 30 point effort againt the Kings included 14 in the final quarter, and it didn't appear during that game that Sacramento had anyone who could guard him, so hopefully the Clippers will call his number a lot tonight.  Also, it seemed that the Kings had some real issues trying to defend the three point line, so hopefully Butler and Outlaw (in addition to Gordon) will get some clear looks.  The Clippers shot a sizzling 11 for 22 from the arc in the first meeting, and that was without Outlaw.

The Antagonist:

The Kings are a much better team at home than they are on the road.  In fact, they're playing .500 at home (14-14) compared to .167 (5-25) on the road, one of the biggest differentials in the league.  They're also coming off a solid home win over the surging Utah Jazz on Friday.  New acquisition Carl Landry had a nightmare against the Clippers last week in his first game as a King, shooting 4 for 11 and missing seven straight shots when the game mattered.  But he's beginning to find himself on his new team, averaging 17 points in the three games since.  He's been so good against the Clippers in the past, I simply expect him to have a big game tonight.  Beno Udrih also knows something about big games against the Clippers, having scored his career high against them last season.  And of course there's future rookie of the year Tyreke Evans, who led the Kings with 21 points in the last meeting.  There's talented players on the floor, and the Kings are not an easy out at Arco.  The Clippers will have to be focused and play well to win this game.

The Subplots:

  • Thompson out.  Second year player Jason Thompson took a hard fall in a recent game against the Pistons and suffered a back injury.  He'll miss tonight's game.  Lucky for Spencer Hawes it happened.  After being demoted to the bench after the Landry trade, Hawes was complaining about playing time, and consequently got demoted all the way to the inactive list for a game.  With the injury to Thompson, he's right back in the starting lineup.
  • Udrih/Garcia.  After the All Star break, Kings Coach Paul Westphal unveiled a new starting lineup.  New acquisition Carl Landry was the power forward, Thompson replaced Hawes at center, and Francisco Garcia replaced the departed Kevin Martin at shooting guard.  When Martin had been injured earlier in the season, it was Beno Udrih who joined Evans in the backcourt, and the Kings actually played very well with that lineup, so it was a bit surprising that Westphal decided to go with Garcia.  The Garcia experiment lasted exactly one game, then Westphal went with Donte Greene for a couple of games, and now it's once again Udrih starting.  After starting for two games, Greene got a DNP in the next one.  As I understand it, Hawes was venting about never knowing what the coach was going to do from one game to the next - he may have a point.
  • No bench.  With Thompson hurt, the Kings don't really have much help coming in off the bench.  If they go with the starting lineup listed above, then the offense coming off the bench pretty much consists of Greene and Andres Nocioni.
  • Kaman.  Kaman scored 22 against these guys last week, and Hawes in particular seemed ill-equipped to defend his face up game.  With Thompson out, the only option at backup center is the little used Sean May.  If Kaman wants to atone for his lapse in judgement in getting kicked out last night, he can start by having a big night tonight.
  • Movie Quote: 

    Because you need me, Springfield. Your guilty conscience may move you to vote Democratic, but deep down you long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king. That's why I did this, to save you from yourselves. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a city to run.

    Sideshow Bob, The Simpsons - Sideshow Bob Roberts (1994).  After watching Robin Lopez score a career high 30 against the Clippers Friday, I couldn't resist a Sideshow Bob quote.
  • Get the Kings perspective at Sactown Royalty.