After an exciting, much-needed win against their other Los Angeles opponent, the Clippers found themselves with little time to rest before heading to Sacramento to take on the Kings in the second half of a back-to-back. Their momentum and visible offensive improvements led many to feel bullish about their expectations in this game at the California capitol. Unfortunately, that proved wrong in the Clippers’ 104-99 loss.
The Clippers instantly came out hot on offense, with three quick shots from beyond the arc to spur an early run. De’Aaron Fox countered the hot start by scoring 10 points of his own in the first nine minutes of the game, many buckets of which were the result of his impressive quickness and ability to get to the hoop. Brandon Boston again got early minutes for the Clippers and chipped in three free throws in the first half, and their zone defense initially helped to compensate for the small lineup’s relatively weak presence in the interior and on the boards (which has been a distinct weakness for the team this season).
Still, the Kings secured a lead that continued into the third largely driven by a dynamic scoring performance from Tyrese Haliburton and Terence Davis, who combined for 10 threes by the end of the game. A string of offensive fouls and turnovers didn’t help the Clippers in their attempt to close the gap, but they heated up in the clutch to make it exciting. Unfortunately, the offense failed to provide them enough good looks to grab the lead, and the Kings held on to the lead despite it being a one-possession game at multiple times.
This loss doesn’t negate the gains made in their recent win against the Lakers, but the Clippers, now at a .500 record, can’t rest too easily if they want to solidify their playoff position with time to spare.