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Clippers-Kings Preview: Back-to-back in Sac

With both teams coming off Friday night losses to Eastern Conference teams, the Clippers and Kings look to turn it around against each other.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
2014/2015 NBA Regular Season

January 17, 2015, 7:00 PM
Prime Ticket, KFWB 980 AM, KWKW 1330 AM
Win-Loss Breakdown
11-8 East 4-8
15-6 West 12-15
17-7 Home 10-13
9-7 Road 6-10
8-11 .500+ 6-12
18-3 .500- 10-11
6-4 L10 4-6
Probable Starters
Chris Paul PG Darren Collison
J.J. Redick SG Ben McLemore
Matt Barnes SF Derrick Williams
Blake Griffin PF Jason Thompson
DeAndre Jordan C DeMarcus Cousins
Advanced Stats
96.52 (12th of 30) Pace 96.81 (10th of 30)
110.2 (2nd of 30) ORtg 103.3 (16th of 30)
103.8 (17th of 30) DRtg 105.4 (23rd of 30)

Rudy Gay (knee) Doubtful

The Back Story: Kings lead season series 1-0

Date Venue Score
11/2/2014 Sleep Train Kings 98 - Clippers 92 Recap Box

The Big Picture: Despite a headline-making shake up in personnel, the lack of solid production from the bench once again doomed the Clippers as they fell to the Heat 126-121. In what seems to be a theme this year, the exploits of the starters (Blake Griffin had 34 points, 10 rebounds and Chris Paul had 15 points, 14 assists) were not enough to overcome the ineptitude of the reserves. On one end of the spectrum, Griffin and Paul each had a plus/minus rating of +11. On the other end, Jamal Crawford and the newly-acquired Austin Rivers had ratings of -19 and -18, respectively. A lack of faith in the bench makes games like tonight's back-to-back a bit concerning, especially against teams that seem to be extra motivated when facing this Los Angeles squad.

The Antagonist: The Kings, too, find themselves licking their wounds after falling to an Eastern Conference foe. Unlike the Clippers, the Sacramento Starters all found themselves with negative plus/minus ratings. The Kings bench, on the other hand, all netted positive plus/minus. Needless to say, facing a team with anything resembling a competent bench seems daunting at this point. Since firing coach Mike Malone, the Kings have gone 5-10 after starting the season 11-13. One could say the jazz isn't jiving.

The Subplots

  • Comparison of key metrics. The Clippers are near the top of the NBA in offensive rating with 110.2 while the Kings find themselves in the middle of the pack with a 103.3 rating. The pace and defensive ratings of the two teams are basically a wash, so the offensive rating should be what proves the difference in the game.
  • Double the SEGABABA double the fun. Both teams played last night so there is no using the "tired" excuse tonight. If you really wanted to build one in anyway, the Kings did play at home so they didn't have to travel. It will be interesting to see the attrition if the game is close late.
  • Boogie Beasting. Demarcus Cousins seems to be putting it all together. This season he is averaging career highs in minutes (33.4), points (24.0), assists (3.3), blocks (1.6) and free throw percentage (.813). It could be argued he is the best center in the game. He usually shows up big against the Clippers. If DeAndre Jordan can hold him to 30 points and 15 rebounds, I will consider it a win. I'm also hoping we can get through the game without him injuring JJ.
  • The trade that wasn't. Among the rumors that floated around during the last few days was that of a Jordan Farmar for Ramon Sessions trade. Of course, this trade fell through, speculatively because of the acquisition of Austin Rivers. As a result, Farmar was waived by the team on Friday. While I know it would've been nice to get something back for a player we used the bi-annual exception on, there is something karmically pleasing about just cutting him outright. I never liked that guy.
  • Pacific Standings. The Clippers currently hold the best record within the division at 5-2. The Warriors and Phoenix are tied at 5-3. Sacramento is 3-8 against the division but two of those wins were against the Suns and the Clippers. The Lakers just don't matter.
  • Break from the East. The Eastern conference is demonstrably weaker than the West, someone should let the Clippers in on this fact. While they hold a winning record over both conferences, The Clippers have inexplicably struggled more with the East (11-8) than the West (15-6).
  • Zero. Austin "Call me SubZero" Rivers scored zero last night on 0-4 shooting. Not exactly the best first impression, but I don't think anyone expected him to have a breakout game his first time in a Clipper uniform. Rivers has played the Kings twice this season while a member of the Pelicans. He scored a combined 10 points in a total of 46 minutes played, so this might not be the best game for a breakout either.
  • A little reinforcement? After being waived by the Celtics, Nate Robinson was seen wearing an LA Kings beanie. Could this mean he is on his way to the Clippers? The Clippers are interested in signing Nate Robinson. Here he is wearing an @LAKings beanie after he was waived.
  • Connections. Darren Collison played for the Clippers last season, his summer Collison went to Sacramento after being offered the MLE. Ryan Hollins signed with the Kings this off season to back up DeMarcus Cousins. Matt Barnes played high school basketball and football at Del Campo High in Sacramento. Reggie Evans played for the Clippers previously and was a major component in their miraculous comeback win against the Grizzlies. Spencer Hawes started his career with the Kings before he was traded to Philadelphia.
  • Get the Kings perspective at Sactown Royalty.
  • Wikipedia definition: King (Burger)
    Burger King, often abbreviated as BK, is a global chain of hamburger fast food restaurants headquartered in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. The company began in 1953 as Insta-Burger King, a Jacksonville, Florida-based restaurant chain. After Insta-Burger King ran into financial difficulties in 1954, its two Miami-based franchisees, David Edgerton and James McLamore, purchased the company and renamed it Burger King. Over the next half century, the company would change hands four times, with its third set of owners, a partnership of TPG Capital, Bain Capital, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, taking it public in 2002. In late 2010, 3G Capital of Brazil acquired a majority stake in BK in a deal valued at US$3.26 billion. The new owners promptly initiated a restructuring of the company to reverse its fortunes. 3G, along with partner Berkshire Hathaway, eventually merged the company with Canadian-based donut chain Tim Hortons.