Kings vs. Clippers: Preseason ends in Los Angeles

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Sacramento's preseason run ends against the Clippers in L.A. on Friday.

If you have NBA TV you'll get a chance to catch the Sacramento Kings' preseason finale on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Pacific, as our protagonists are in Los Angeles to face off against the Clippers. The Kings already beat the Clips in Sactown last week, albeit with Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan on ice. It's unclear how Doc Rivers will approach the finale. We know that Michael Malone is still tinkering with the Kings' lineup, however, so I expect the Kings will take the game rather seriously.

IMPORTANT SUBPLOT NO. 1

Marcus Thornton is starting. He didn't play on Wednesday. Malone has been rather coy about where he's headed with the shooting guard position, despite the easy answer before preseason being "start Thornton, play Ben McLemore, try to find minutes for Jimmer Fredette if necessary." Well, it's necessary. Jimmer and McLemore have been quite good in the preseason. Thornton hasn't. That's flipped the whole situation on its head. If Thornton doesn't do well on defense and hit some shots, we could very well see McLemore or Fredette get the starting job next Wednesday. That's not good for Thornton.

IMPORTANT SUBPLOT NO. 2

If the preseason were already over, I don't see how you could keep Isaiah Thomas out of the starting lineup. I hear all of the talk about it not mattering who starts. It does, unless you want to see the team fall behind every night. I also totally understand being patient with Greivis Vasquez. If Isaiah weren't so good, this wouldn't be an issue: you'd ride with Vasquez. But I.T. is the team's second best player. This team is not good enough to not play its best players as much as possible.

But we all know the arguments for Vasquez: it's not so much about his performance as it is the performance of his teammates. That's the decision Malone has to make: in which role is each going to be most helpful. I don't envy him. But for the record, I'd start Isaiah right now.

PREGAME HAIKU

Goodbye, preseason.
Watching via live box score
was totally fun.

PREDICTION

NO INJURIES WHATSOEVER.

Game thread at 7:30.

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