April 5, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; NBA referee Josh Tiven (left) talks to Sacramento Kings power forward DeMarcus Cousins (center) and Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (right) during the third quarter at Power Balance Pavilion. The Clippers defeated the Kings 93-85. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
It's rare that the whole nation takes interest in a game between the Sacramento Kings and L.A. Clippers, but the aftermath of Thursday's rugby match between the clubs has Saturday's return bout in high demand. The Clippers won in Sacramento on Thursday, pulling away in the closing seconds as the Kings misfired and the team's best player, DeMarcus Cousins, who limited all night long by foul trouble. He and Blake Griffin went at it for the entire game ... and afterward, as Boogie took to the media to call Griffin an "actor" and allege that the league babies him. Cousins earned a $25,000 fine for his criticism of the referees.
The question going into Saturday's game, given that both Cousins and Griffin will be revved and quite likely angry (Boogie about Thursday's result and the fine, Griffin about the harsh words), is a question of which, if either, will be ready to focus that energy on domination. Neither was very good at all on Thursday: Cousins was tentative and largely absent, Griffin was uneven and uncomfortable. That's not the norm for either, so you'd expect them to be better. But if they burn too hot, they may get out of their games. We'll see how that plays out. (It's also worth noting that they won't match up to start the game -- Jason Thompson, who was great on Thursday, gets the Blake assignment.)
The other issue: Chris Paul wasn't too hot on Thursday, and that's really abnormal. You'd think that he'd be able to work over a rookie (even though that rookie is Isaiah Thomas), but he looked tired in the first match. Will a day of rest and home sweet home fix that? If so, let's hope Marcus Thornton returns or Tyreke Evans goes off.
The game's at 7:30. Game threads will pop at 7:30 and 9. Let's go Kings!