Game 26 Preview: Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Clippers

Game 26 Preview: Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Clippers

Cowbell Kingdom

Game 26 Preview: Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Clippers


Chris Paul and Isaiah Thomas. (Photo: Tobin Halsey)

Gametime: 7:30 pm PT

Where:  Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA.

Broadcast Information: Click here.

For Clippers perspective, visit fellow TrueHoop Network affiliate ClipperBlog.

The book on Los Angeles:  The Clippers are off to their best start in franchise history.  Through their first 25 games, the Clippers have won 19, besting a 17-victory start set in 1974 and tied last year.  Los Angeles is also in the midst of an 11-game winning streak, which matches a franchise record set during the 1974-75 season.  With a win over the Kings, they can break that record tonight.

Did you know?  Vinny Del Negro is among nine active NBA coaches who have either played for the Kings or been a part of the team’s coaching staff.  The other eight?  Rick Adelman, Scott Brooks, Tyrone Corbin, Mike D’Antoni, Larry Drew, Byron Scott, Mike Woodson and Randy Wittman.

Status Updates: Francisco Garcia and Tyreke Evans are both day-to-day according to Kings head coach Keith Smart.  Garcia strained his back against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday and Evans is still experiencing soreness in his bruised left knee.  

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (8-17)

PG: Aaron Brooks
SG: Marcus Thornton
SF: John Salmons
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Los Angeles Clippers Probable Starters (19-6)

PG: Chris Paul
SG: Willie Green
SF: Caron Butler
PF: Blake Griffin
C: DeAndre Jordan

Stats and Rankings


  • Points Per Game: 95.8 (19th out of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 99.6 (23th out of 30)
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 101.2 (3rd out of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 107.1 (28th out of 30)
  • Pace: 94.94 (9th out of 30)


  • Points Per Game: 101.3 (8th out of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 107.7 (4th out of 30)
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 92.1 (27th out of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 97.7 (4th out of 30)
  • Pace: 93.90 (19th out of 30)

Three questions to ponder

1.  Will the Kings rejuvenated offense reign supreme over the Clippers’ dominant defense?

For a team that struggles to break the century mark, Wednesday’s performance by the Kings was truly impressive.  They scored a season-high 131 points in just 48 minutes.  The last time Sacramento scored that many points in regulation was four years ago in Oakland.  They shot an incredible 50 percent from the field and 57.9 percent from 3-point land.  But the Clippers have been practically unstoppable defensively for much of their 11-game winning streak.  The Clippers have held their last six opponents at or below 43 percent shooting and boast a 14-0 record when they do so.

2.  Can the Kings come strong out of the gates?

When the Kings start games by isolating and not moving the ball, they usually find themselves trailing after the first period.  Establishing their pace will be critical for the Kings if they hope to snap the Clippers season-long winning streak.  When Los Angeles comes out of the first quarter in firm control, they’re often coming away with victory in the end.  In 15 games where they’ve led after the first 12 minutes, they’ve posted a remarkable 14-1 record.  The last time these two teams met, a victory was already inevitable for the Clippers after the first five minutes.

3. Can the Kings bigs duplicate their defensive performance from Wednesday’s win against Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan?

David Lee and Carl Landry were torching the Kings until Chuck Hayes came in to play some of his best defense of the season.  The veteran power forward has come up in critical moments to play extraordinary D against some of the game’s best big men this year.  The Kings will need another huge effort from Hayes against Blake Griffin if this game is competitive in the fourth quarter.  The Clippers power forward is averaging 19.8 points per game on 58.5 percent shooting in the month of  December.

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