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Kings vs. Clippers Preview: Stop the Skid!

Can the Kings turn their season around against the team with the second best record in the West? Kawhi not?

I was gonna start this off with a Friday salutation, describe the meaningless droll of work followed by the highlight of a Kings game to follow this evening, but then I forgot that some of our readers work for the Kings and that meaningless droll of work IS the Kings game. Wouldn't want any of these guys to feel even less motivated on the defensive end of the floor tonight, so we're just going to skip it all together. The Clippers are in town tonight and sporting the second best record in the West, the team is largely healthy and they're looking to put any residual embarrassment from last post season in the rear view mirror. Let's talk Kings basketball.

When: Friday, January 15th, 7:00 PM PST

Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA

TV: NBCSCA -  Mark Jones on the call.

RadioKHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

By George, They've Done It!: So I'm just going to go ahead and drop the overused cliché on you right off the bat in this preview - This is not last year's Clippers team. The drama and backbiting and rumor mill that was last season's second favorite LA team has seen their coach and some key role players exit stage left, and in their stead a little peace and unity apparently. After seven years as coach of the Clippers, Doc Rivers was fired in September and after a coaching search that also involved Darvin Ham and Mike Brown, they settled on former LeBron whisperer Ty Lue, and subjectively the results so far have seen some positive returns in the chemistry department. In the cold hard light of numbers? Eh, it gets a little complicated. They've slowed their game way down, from 8th in pace to 28th this season and in doing so have only seen their offensive rating drop from 2nd best to 3rd best in the entire NBA, while also managing to score a little over five points less per game. They're the best three point shooting team in the league, they've dropped from taking the most free throws in the NBA to taking the 9th least, but they've also increased their efficiency from the line, now also currently the best free throw shooting team in the league at over 84%. The flip side of some of this is that the Clippers have gone from the fifth best defensive rating to the twenty-sixty, from holding opponents to the third lowest field goal percentage in the league to giving up the ninth best opponent field goal percentage and then going from third best rebounding team in the league to the absolute worst. The Clippers record is fairly pristine, but their numbers are a grab bag at best.

As for individual players, Paul George has had a fantastic start to his season, bringing his scoring up from 21.5 points per game in his first season with the Clippers to 25.2, currently the team's best. Some of this has to do with his superb three point shooting to start the season. Last season, George shot 41.2% behind the arc on 7.9 attempts, nothing to turn your nose up at. The start of this season however has seen George at a whole new level - he's currently shooting a scorching 51.6% from beyond the arc on 8.3 attempts. Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton and company are in for a rough night guarding the man.

As for the Clippers most important player, Kawhi Leonard, things are again a bit more complicated. His scoring his down from 27.1 points per game to 24.5 points per game even though he's playing almost three minutes more a game for Coach Lue. His three point percentage is up nearly 6 points to a career high 43.8% from deep, he's averaging .2 more steals, 1.1 more assists and 2 less rebounds a contest. It's still early in the season, but I honestly think this more even scoring between the two stars of the Clippers is better for Kawhi in the long run and allows for a more balanced attack. Last season, George never seemed to be quite comfortable in his role and if this start is any indication, those kinks may very well have worked out. This cohesiveness of the team in general also probably has something to do with the addition and subtractions of a couple of bigs on the roster. Reigning Sixth Man of the Year, Montrezl Harrell moved, well, across town to the Lakers in the off-season. And while he was often a name brought up in rumor mills around who was unhappy last season, a couple of big name replacements have seemingly come in and lead from both the bench and starting unit with aplomb - Serge Ibaka and Nicolas Batum. While both are  averaging over ten a game, it is Batum who is making the loudest splash in LA. He's currently sitting right at the 50-40-90 mark as a surprise starter in the Clippers first 12 games after Marcus Morris came up injured to start the season. These aren't the Clippers of last season and while the numbers don't quite spell it out yet, they might just be a better, more cohesive team.

And Sacramento? Well, the Kangz need to be as Kings as possible tonight to have a decent shot at them.

Last thing: please run over to our friends at 213hoops.com and give them a read as well. Like everyone at The Kings Herald, they got screwed over by the company that shall not be named and Lucas Hann and the rest of his team do a fantastic job over there (including using our very own Sanjesh Singh on occassion). They're the only basketball related team in LA that I respect, so give them a little love.

Prediction

Well, true to form and as soon as I said it: Buddy Hield went over 40% from three the two games I said he needed to in order for me to go back to predictions. He's going to continue that tonight, hitting 7 three pointers all over the grills of George, Leonard and the like. De'Aaron Fox, seeing broken down and rickety Patrick Beverley in his way is going to bully the man into 25+ points, Tyrese Haliburton is going to just go for his regular 14 points and 7 assists like it was a walk in the park and there's nothing in the world bothering him.

Kings: 131, Clippers: 124

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1951
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January 15, 2021 1:49 pm

“Stop the Skid!”

Ew.
comment image

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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January 15, 2021 4:04 pm
Reply to  1951

Plaza is losing it! The camera operator even pans away. Lol

Jman1949
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January 15, 2021 1:57 pm

The Clippers have George and Kawhi.
We’ll be hard-pressed to win, but will try.
Surely no one denies
A Kings win would surprise-
Lift delusions of prospects sky high!

Marty
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January 15, 2021 2:03 pm

Looking forward to stalking watching Bagley off-ball tonight as he rubs elbows with some of the highest BBIQs in the league.

LandParkJimmer
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January 15, 2021 3:23 pm
Reply to  Marty

He’s going to get dominated

Hozr
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January 15, 2021 4:24 pm
Reply to  LandParkJimmer

I hear he’s into that sort of thing

ElRonToro
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January 15, 2021 2:04 pm

So….you are predicting the King’s D is going to buckle down and hold the Clip’s to 124? I don’t see it happening.

SMF-PDXConnection
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January 15, 2021 3:00 pm

I was gonna start this off with a Friday salutation, describe the meaningless droll of work followed by the highlight of a Kings game to follow this evening, but then I forgot that some of our readers work for the Kings and that meaningless droll of work IS the Kings game.

And there are others of us who’ve been laid off and are still working for work, leaving Kings games on in the background as resumes are endlessly tweaked and retweaked.

SMF-PDXConnection
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January 15, 2021 3:40 pm

Y’all want to downvote a guy for job hunting in a pandemic? Tough crowd!

My intent wasn’t to criticize Will if that’s how it came across, I’m just really freaking tired.

1951
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January 15, 2021 3:46 pm

My poop joke gif got a down vote. Anything can happen these days!

Last edited 1 year ago by 1951
SMF-PDXConnection
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January 15, 2021 4:07 pm
Reply to  1951

Your poop joke is probably going to be seen more than my resume. 🙁

Hozr
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January 15, 2021 4:26 pm

Maybe you should include the poop joke in your resume.

Marty
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January 15, 2021 4:33 pm
Reply to  1951

My wife and I giggled uncontrollably together at that one. She enjoyed it so much she walked down the compound and showed it to the boys at the front gate and also on the helipad.

LandParkJimmer
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January 15, 2021 3:24 pm

Bagley is in for a rough rough night

andy_sims
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January 15, 2021 4:18 pm
Reply to  LandParkJimmer

You talk like a cartoon dog.

eddie41
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January 15, 2021 3:31 pm

Buckets of rain, buckets of tears, got all them buckets comin’ out of my ears.

1951
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January 15, 2021 3:36 pm
Reply to  eddie41

After the game we will get plenty of idiot wind from Walton.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
January 15, 2021 3:35 pm

Damn. I feel so bad for KAT. He’s gone through so much.

SMF-PDXConnection
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January 15, 2021 3:41 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Best wishes to him and everyone around him.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
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January 15, 2021 3:43 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

What are the chances of the league stopping play for a bit? The COVID cases around the league are getting out of control.

SMF-PDXConnection
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January 15, 2021 3:50 pm
Reply to  Klam

The league seems hellbent on continuing for a variety of reasons, but I don’t know what their options are given the non-basketball situations unfolding in the real world.

People were expecting vaccinations to pick up speed based on the feds saying they’d unload the entire stockpile instead of holding back second doses, and then we learned today that they already HAD unloaded all the second doses, so there are no vaccine reinforcements coming as was expected. Add on top of that, now the more contagious strain is gaining ground and is expected to be the dominant strain by March given our current path.

Plus, let’s not overlook that 28 NBA teams charter with Delta for their flights, and Delta is still refusing to test their flight crews. We are in uncharted logistic waters, but it’s hard to see how many more games the league can postpone while all of this is happening.

And no, Charles Barkley is completely wrong that pro athletes should get priority for vaccines because they “pay more in taxes.”

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 15, 2021 3:55 pm

Chuck said that!!?? What a fucking knucklehead.

SMF-PDXConnection
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January 15, 2021 4:03 pm
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1951
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January 15, 2021 3:57 pm

They should get priority for vaccines but not because they pay more in taxes.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 15, 2021 4:18 pm
Reply to  1951

Why should they get priority for vaccines?

andy_sims
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January 15, 2021 4:20 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

If we are going to demand both bread and circuses, then the animals must be kept healthy.

Obviously, if this country was capable of doing the right thing, there would be no sports at all until the players were vaccinated.

1951
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January 15, 2021 4:38 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Because it would have a positive effect on vaccinating more people.

We are a species of star-struck flockers.

1951
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January 15, 2021 4:48 pm
Reply to  1951

Case in point:

Ask yourself, why is this person’s choice to get the vaccine news at all?

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 15, 2021 5:24 pm
Reply to  1951

Because people are click whores.

1951
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January 15, 2021 6:09 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Or because of who he is, a cultural crossover who is very poplar among various American (and international) sub-cultures!

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 15, 2021 5:21 pm
Reply to  1951

If folks need professional athletes to motivate them into believing in science, then we are fucked.

What’s next, reality tv stars advising us on politics….oh wait….

1951
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January 15, 2021 5:57 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Seems silly, but here we are.

there is both a micro and macro messaging.

first, the more people of note who publicly get the vaccine and don’t immediately turn into micro-machine lizard people of the Soros-Gates new world army, the better. (Heavy on the tongue in cheek but just show it’s safe!)

second, the NBA can demonstrate that having a fully vaccinated cohort of folks allows you to function relatively normal. That would have a positive impact, as silly as you think that is.

Hozr
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January 15, 2021 4:44 pm

People were expecting vaccinations to pick up speed based on the feds saying…

You believed anything the feds predicted? Bwaahahahahahahahaha.

BTW, we are right where the epidemiologists said we’d be back in September, i.e. 4,000+ dead per day in January. And it’s only going to get worse because the post-Christmas travel surge hasn’t hit yet (although it will in the next week or so). Then we’ll be seeing a post-domestic terrorism foolishness surge a few weeks after that. Are we having fun yet? Stay safe guys!

SMF-PDXConnection
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January 15, 2021 4:46 pm
Reply to  Hozr

I was skeptical, but I didn’t think this particular situation would be so spectacularly stupid as it’s turned out to be.

andy_sims
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January 15, 2021 5:05 pm

There is nothing so stupid that Americans can’t make it happen with a little effort.

Otis
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January 15, 2021 5:14 pm

I think things are finally looking to turn around. The MyPillow guy was at the White House advising Trump today.

Hozr
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January 15, 2021 4:33 pm
Reply to  Klam

I wonder if they baked in a possible stoppage for the all star break as a contingency plan. That would’ve been the logical thing to do.

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