Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
When: 7:30 PM PT
How to Watch/Listen: Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570
Projected Starting Lineups
Kings: De’Aaron Fox – Bogdan Bogdanovic – Harrison Barnes – Nemanja Bjelica – Harry Giles
Clippers: Patrick Beverley – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Moe Harkless – Ivica Zubac
Kings: Richaun Holmes Out (Shoulder), Marvin Bagley Out (Foot)
Clippers: Paul George Probable (Hamstring), Patrick Beverley Probable (Groin)
The Big Picture
The Clippers have won six of their last seven games, all without Paul George, and are finally rolling after a slow stretch in late December and early January. Their offense, in particular, has picked up, with Kawhi Leonard and Landry Shamet both looking the best they have all year. Kawhi’s dominance has been especially notable, as he’s shown the ability to consistently take over games on both ends against all manner of opponents. The Clippers having a true top three player on their team has meant all the difference for much of this season, and is the best sign possible for their chances in the postseason.
There might not be a more disappointing team in the NBA this season than the Sacramento Kings. Coming off a 2019 season which was the best and most exciting for the Kings’ franchise in well over a decade, the Kings were projected to be not just a playoff team, but one of the most fun teams in the NBA. That has not been the case. The Kings are 17-29 and have mostly been a chore to watch under new coach Luke Walton. Marvin Bagley has been injured much of the year, Buddy Hield has fallen off defensively, and veteran additions such as Trevor Ariza and Dewayne Dedmon have not panned out well. The Kings could still make the playoffs, but that says much more about the bottom of the West than it does the Kings.
Finally Home: After a long six-game road trip (the annual Grammy trip), the Clippers will be home for four games in a row. None of those contests will be back-to-backs either, meaning the Clippers wounded should have plenty of time to rest, recover, and get back to full strength before the next road trip. A nice tour at home is exactly what the Clippers need right now before they head into the All Star Break and then the second half of the season.
To Start Shamet or Not: Landry Shamet has excelled in recent weeks as the starting shooting guard replacing Paul George. George will, of course, re-enter the starting lineup upon his return, but it’s possible Doc Rivers looks at going small with Kawhi Leonard at power forward and both Shamet and Pat Beverley flanking the two superstar wings going forward. Shamet’s improved play needs to be maintained at nearly any cost, and moving Moe Harkless to the bench (at least some of the time) to give Shamet more time with the starters could be a positive for both the starting unit and the reserves. It remains to be seen what Doc will do, but going small with Shamet has to be being heavily considered right now.
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