STARTING LINEUPS & INJURIES
The Kings should again go with Tyreke Evans, Beno Udrih, Donte Greene, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins in the starting five. All players (other than D-Leaguin' Hassan Whiteside) are available and will dress, barring last-minute changes.
Chris Kaman is back, having played limited minutes Friday and Sunday for the Clippers. Randy Foye isn't yet back, but could return against the Kings. That would give L.A. a full complement of players, as Baron Davis also has returned since the teams last met on Thanksgiving. On Sunday at Portland, the Clippers started the Erics Bledsoe and Gordon in the backcourt, with rookies Al-Farouq Aminu and Blake Griffin at forward and DeAndre Jordan at center.
The above lineup whipped the Kings on Thanksgiving to the tune of 100-82. The Kings looked like zombies, and Blake Griffin was magnificent.
Please check out HighTops' awesome scouting report in the FanPosts. My scouting report follows.
In the last meeting of these jugger-nots, Blake Griffin scored 25 points on 11 field goal attempts. That's gross. The Kings let him get easy shots in face-up situations, and fouled him way too much. Pick one. Defend him tough and foul, if necessary. Or stop hacking when he goes up to dunk. My dream defense: double immediately and make him pass. He can pass -- he had some remarkable assists on Thanksgiving -- but you add a layer of resistance when you force it. And hey, maybe the Kings will sneak in a good defensive rotation or two.
Aggro 'Reke has been great in spurts lately; the Mavericks shut that down by bringing quick help and denying the ball late on Saturday. The Clippers shouldn't be as able to do so, and Evans has to force the issue, even if it means shooting 4-12 in the paint. He is the heartbeat of the team, and while Beno can get it movin' and Carl Landry and Thompson should be able to stroke, the team needs Evans blazing and stuttering and making fools look foolish for the Kings to really succeed.
For what it's worth, Luther Head's rotational exit, should it persist, shouldn't change much for this matchup: Gordon shredded the Kings last time. He'll likely shred Evans or Udrih, too.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Griffin vs. Thompson. I assume J.T. will be assigned to handle Quake Griffin. I assume foul trouble. BUT ... Thompson has been playing pretty well of late, and his physicality and shooting range could make the Clips pay on the other end. This matchup should be a Clips win, but if J.T. can keep it respectable, the Kings have more talent elsewhere on the roster.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Here we jinx: Cousins hasn't had more than two turnovers in a game since Nov. 21. He's also averaged 15/8 over his last three games. #progress
Today's giveaway game entry is posted on the Sactown Royalty Facebook page. There's still PLENTY of time to catch up.
7:30 PM PT tip, on Comcast SportsNet (sorry, Dish customers) and KHTK 1140 AM. Game threads at 7:30 and 9. Let's go Kings.