Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
When: 2:00pm PT
How to Watch/Listen: Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570
Projected Starting Lineups
Kings: De’Aaron Fox - Buddy Heild - Harrison Barnes - Nemanja Bjelica - Richaun Holmes
Clippers: Derrick Walton, Jr. – Kawhi Leonard – Paul George – Moe Harkless – Ivica Zubac
Kings: Marvin Bagley (OUT - foot sprain), De’Aaron Fox (PROBABLE - back spasms)
Clippers: Patrick Beverley (OUT - wrist sprain), Lou Williams (OUT - personal)
The Big Picture
While it’s a bit early to panic—and it’s important to note that despite their struggles the team is still a strong 23-11—we’re reaching the point in the season where it’s time for the Clippers to start showing us a level of play that we haven’t seen so far. When they’re good, they’re great, but overall inconsistency and a disorganized offense have led to lapses. It’s also been hard to get a good grasp on what the team is capable of, as Paul George has missed 11 games and Kawhi Leonard has missed 9, along with numerous absences from key members of the supporting cast. This team looks different, and Doc Rivers has different options, when, for example, Landry Shamet and JaMychal Green are both healthy and in good form.
That finally appeared to be happening... until it wasn’t. The Clippers had their first fully-healthy squad of the season on Christmas Day, but now Patrick Beverley is sidelined with a wrist/elbow issue and Lou Williams is a late scratch for tonight’s game due to personal reasons (hoping that everything is ok with Lou). Terance Mann is still with Agua Caliente, leaving the Clippers with Derrick Walton, Jr., Shamet, Jerome Robinson, and Rodney McGruder all seemingly likely to pick up some ball-handling and shot-creation duties in support of George and Leonard. While that is an interesting (read: lackluster) cast, this is still a game that the Clippers should be able to win with their star power. At the beginning of a soft patch of schedule where the Clippers face lottery teams in eight of their next nine contests, it would be nice to make tonight’s game against the Kings, who are on a league-high 7-game losing streak, the start of a nice win streak for LAC. But the Kings’ roster is not as dismal as their recent results suggest, so the Clippers, especially without their two primary ball-handlers and distributors, need to make sure this doesn’t turn into a trap game and a regrettable loss to end the decade.