The Clippers came into Sacramento having won 14 straight games against the Kings on their home court. No. 15 might have been the easiest one yet. Despite being shorthanded on the road, the LA took an early lead and maintained control relatively throughout in an 138-100 win.
The Clippers were without Patrick Beverley in Sacramento, and lacked some energy to start the game. Hard not to think those two events were unrelated. After falling behind 11-3, though, Kawhi Leonard was fouled shooting a 3-pointer, and the offensive tide started to turn. Reggie Jackson — starting in Beverley’s place — hit two spot-up threes, and Paul George added another triple in transition to get the Clippers going on the offensive end. The Clippers also made seven 2-pointers, including a pretty Leonard move in the post.
In the second quarter, the floodgates really started to open for the Clippers. George, who already had nine points in the first quarter, dropped another 11 thanks to there more 3-pointers. The star of the period was Marcus Morris Sr., who came off the bench to convert four threes en route to 14 points. He even added a highlight lob to Ivica Zubac on the break, as the former starting frontcourt has regained its rhythm in the second unit.
The Clippers had an eight-point lead heading into the half without even breaking a sweat. They picked up the intensity ever so slightly to start the third quarter, and it was essentially a coronation. LA absolutely embarrassed Sacramento in the period, shooting over 70 percent from the field while outscoring the Kings 37-16. When Reggie Jackson is dunking and Terance Mann is splashing threes, something has gone terribly wrong for the opposing team.
It might not be October but Reggie Jackson just SLAMMED one! pic.twitter.com/q5mmAN8X3z— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) January 16, 2021
Serge Ibaka finally got an extended stretch of minutes in the third after being limited to eight minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. The Clippers designed a set to get Ibaka a midranger to begin the half. He connected and was immediately engaged again. The Kings were trapping the ball handler on pick and rolls, so Ibaka had the opportunity to make passes out of the short roll, which led to five assists for the Clippers center.
Leonard was simply masterful throughout. He dominated with his playmaking early, but then settled in as a scorer as the game wore on. The Clippers got him the ball in his preferred spots in the post in their triangle actions, and Leonard had no trouble against whatever defender the Kings threw at him. He even had the legs to get up for several hammer dunks.
The Clippers have been messing around against some bad teams and letting them hang around despite a disparity in talent. Two days ago, they let a team without its starting backcourt stay close until the very end. This time, they were the ones down two guards, but they brought the appropriate urgency and took care of business.