Game 55 Preview: Kings vs. Clippers

The Sacramento Kings begin a two-game mini series against the Los Angeles Clippers tonight at Power Balance Pavilion.  The last time these two teams met, the Clippers came away with a 108-100 win in Sacramento.

Gametime: 7:00 pm PST

Broadcast Information: Click here.

For Cippers perspective, visit fellow TrueHoop Network blog Clipper Blog.

Kings Probable Starters (19-34)

Isaiah Thomas Tyreke Evans Donte Greene Jason Thompson DeMarcus Cousins

Keith Smart said at shootaround that Marcus Thornton will not play tonight.  Thornton is still feeling the lingering effects of a bruised left calf he sustained in Monday’s win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.  John Salmons is also a scratch from tonight’s contest because of his sore right hip.  He’s missed the Kings’ last five games.

Clippers Probable Starters (32-22)

Chris Paul Randy Foye Caron Butler Blake Griffin DeAndre Jordan

The Clippers had won six consecutive games before last night’s loss against the Los Angeles Lakers.  They erased a double-digit deficit to come back late, but ultimately fell113-108 to the Lakers.  The Clippers are playing in their 13th back-to-back set this season.

3-on-3 Roundtable

You may be familiar with’s 5-on-5 roundtables, which feature Game 55 Preview: Kings vs. Clippersopinion and analysis from ESPN writers and TrueHoop Network contributors on pressing NBA topics. Along with other THN blogs, Cowbell Kingdom has brought that format to the local level in the form of our own 3-on-3 roundtable.

D.J. Foster and Jovan Buha of Clipper Blog join me to preview tonight’s Kings/Clippers match-up.

1. Match-up to watch?

D.J. Foster: DeMarcus Cousins vs DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers let Andrew Bynum go off last night by not bringing the double. Will they do the same against Cousins, who has been on an absolute tear lately?

Jovan Buha: Cousins vs. Jordan. I said this last time, and I’ll say it again. If Cousins can thoroughly win this match-up, the Clippers will have a tough time defeating the Kings. He’s just that good. But if DJ can hold his own, or even win it, Sacramento has virtually no chance.

Jonathan Santiago:  Isaiah Thomas vs. Chris Paul.  Thomas didn’t have a good game against Paul last time out and is due for a bounce back contest.  The Kings’ rookie is coming off 17-point and 22-point performances in the Kings’ last two games.

2. Stat that decides the game…

D.J. Foster: I’ll say that whoever makes the most threes in this game gets the W. The Clippers live and die by it on both ends this year, so it’s typically been a good indicator of success.

Jovan Buha: Points in the paint. The Clippers tend to give up waves of lay-ups and easy buckets, and if the Kings can capitalize, they may eke out a W. However, if the Clippers dominate inside, expect some traditional Lob City highlights and a Clippers victory.

Jonathan Santiago:  Assists.  The Clippers dished 30 assists, while the Kings only recorded 14 in their last match-up.  The Kings have become much better sharing the ball since that previous meeting.

3. Bench player missed most: John Salmons or Mo Williams?

D.J. Foster: Mo Williams. Although inconsistent, Williams can win a game for you when he’s hot. The Clippers second unit is one of the most pathetic offensive groups out there — they need Mo.

Jovan Buha: Mo Williams. Call me biased, or an elitist, but the Kings aren’t a good team (and are likely trying to lose this game), so Salmons doesn’t really matter. Mo, on the other hand, is arguably the Clippers’ fourth best player, and will be needed to secure home court and make a playoff run.

Jonathan Santiago:  Mo Williams is more valuable overall, but the Clippers have not struggled since he’s gone down to injury.  In his absence, they won six consecutive games before losing last night to the Lakers.  The Kings, meanwhile, have struggled without Salmons and have gone 2-3 in games he’s missed.


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