It’s back to LA for our 2nd and final game against the Clippers at the Staple Center this season. In our last excursion to LA LA Land, the Clippers treated us to a 100-82 basting on Thanksgiving. Blake Griffin said he wanted to make a video on how to dunk off the pick and roll and we said no problem. So, since Chris Kaman and Baron Davis were recuperating, Blake and Eric Gordon along with DeAndre Jordan and rookies Eric Bledsoe and Al-Farouq Aminu proceeded to participate in what can only be called a dunk-fest and outscored us 58-32 in the paint.
Davis returned for the Clippers Dec 1st win against SAS, and Kaman returned for the Dec. 3rd loss in Denver, with both players coming off the bench. Without Chris and Baron, the Clips followed their victory over the Kings with losses to the Suns and Jazz before beating the Spurs, losing to the Nuggets and Trailblazers.
Carl Landry was one of the few Kings who played well at least offensively. He finished with 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting in 36 minutes. He scored 15 of the 18 in the first half. Dalembert started but got 2 quick fouls trying to help at the rim. Then when he got back in the game in the 2nd quarter he got another quick foul defending Griffin, and was pulled until the 3rd period. Early in the third he ended up defending Griffin on a switch with Carl and got his 4th foul. He left in the 3rd never to return after playing only 9 minutes.
The Kings ended up shooting only 41% from the field while the Clips shoot 51%, and the Clippers outscored us at the FT line 28 to 20. The leading scorer at the rim for the Kings was Beno who went 3-3 and Luther was 2nd at 2-2. No other player scored more than 1 basket at the rim and it wasn’t because of the Clippers defense which only had 4 blocks. This had to be the low point of the season for the Kings, and it took most of the fun out of the Holiday.
No team has been able to stop Griffin who’s averaging 20.6 pts and 11.7 rebounds, and now with Kaman back it looks like those numbers could go up. Although Kaman is taking it easy getting back and has only played 13 mpg in the 2 games since his return. Baron Davis on the other hand has come back running and is averaging 26 mpg since his return. He hasn’t started yet; Gordon and Bledsoe still have that honor. But, the 3 of them are scarfing up all the backcourt minutes in a 3-man rotation. Craig Smith is seeing limited minutes in relief of Griffin, and Ryan Gomes is seeing the majority of the SF minutes even though he’s playing behind Aminu who’s minutes have dropped below 15 per game recently.
The Clippers are 4th from last in 3pt%. Unfortunately in spite of the fantastic 3pt shooting in the Mav’s game, the Kings are dead last at 30%. The Clippers take more and make more shots at the rim and from 3pt range than the Kings. But, the Kings shot for a higher percentage at the rim and are almost as good at the 3pt shot as the Clippers. So, they need to attack there and more often. The Kings take the 6th highest number of long 2’s and shoot at the 7th worst percentage, that really has to change. They need to attack attack attack the rim, and hopefully free up some open 3’s. Shooting 37% from the field on long 2’s isn’t going to cut it.
The Clippers will foul if you attack. Against the Nuggets the Clipper committed 37 fouls and sent Denver to the line for 59 FTA’s. Of course once you get there you have to make them. On the offensive boards you can’t just get good position and stand there waiting. Griffin is going to come in flying and take it away right over your head. As soon as the shot goes up, someone or some ones needs to get in front of him before he gets a head of steam going.
With Davis and Bledsoe pushing the ball you can expect a fast pace and I don’t think our backcourt has the wheels for a foot race. With PW’s new and improved lineup, I don’t like the match-ups at the PG and PF. Beno and JT are going to need a lot of help staying with their man and that’s going to really test our defensive rotations and especially our pick & roll defens. DeMarcus when he’s aggressive like in the Mav’s game can be a force and seems to find it easier to stay out of foul trouble. And I expect him and Tyreke to push the attack inside.
After last night’s loss to Portland, the Clippers are 4-17 but a win against the Kings moves them out of the cellar and ahead of the Kings in percentage. The fact that the Clippers have already beaten us on their home court means nothing. But, the fact that their getting healthy and want to win as badly as we do, means this is going to be a high energy game. It might take 3pt shooting like in the Dallas game to pull this one out. Go Kings