The Sacramento Kings prepare to face the Los Angeles team that has already secured their playoff spot. The Clippers have given the Kings a particularly hard time this year.
The Kings were simply no match for the Clippers in their first meeting of the season. Sacramento has lost the last five games to the Clippers, and have lost eight of the last nine. The Kings spent Mondays practice preparing for their third of four meetings with the Clippers this season. The first two meetings were in LA, and the Kings barley put up a fight in either game.
While the Kings managed to make the second game a little less of a beating than the first, they need to find a sense of pride tonight with The Clippers coming into Sacramento. The Kings have both Demarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans listed as questionable for tonight’s game, but both were listed as starters in the teams projected lineup.
The Kings will need both Cousins and Evans if they are going to have a chance tonight against a loaded Clippers team. The Kings will need to play one of the best games they have all season if they are going to beat a Clippers team who seems to take pleasure in beating up on their neighbors from the North.
Marcus Thornton will need to have big minutes tonight off the bench if the Kings have any hope of keeping up with Jamal Crawford, who has been playing like the NBA’s sixth man of the year. The Kings have had little to no success slowing the Clippers down defensively this year, and will need to make a team effort for 48 minutes. If the Kings bring anything less than an effort similar to when they played the Miami Heat, the Clippers could easily run the Kings out of their own building.
The Kings had only six turn overs in Sunday’s loss to the Lakers, and will need to slow the tempo of tonight’s game down and limit turnovers. Both are major keys to the Kings chances of winning tonight. If The Kings commit turnovers, they give the Clippers better chances to get out into the open court where they flourish. The Kings need to stay on their man after missed shots on the offense and stop the Clippers from leaking out into the open floor on missed shots.
The Kings have a size advantage if they slow the offense down, and run their half court offense through Cousins, Thompson and Patterson. All are capable of having big scoring nights, and are more than capable of passing the ball and finding open teammates. If the Kings have any chance of keeping up offensively tonight, the big men need to help Isaiah Thomas, John Salmons and Tyreke Evans move the ball and help create better shots for their teammates.