The Kings play the Clippers at 12:30 p.m. Pacific today. I know, right? This is the softest road back-to-back ever in terms of travel: a one-hour flight to L.A., an afternoon game, an evening game the next day in the same arena, a one-hour flight back to Sacramento. And then the Kings don't play again until Friday! What a world.
Of course, there's one big ol' issue standing in the path to true ease: Chris Paul. While the Clippers haven't necessarily been as good as hoped early on -- they are 8-5, and awful on defense -- CP3 has been excellent. He's averaging 19 points, 12.5 assists, 5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. Blake Griffin hasn't been too shabby, either, with 23 and 11 on 56 percent shooting.
But again, the Clips defense is baaad. The Kings offense has been pretty good lately, so it'd be really cool if DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas and the gang could stick L.A. with a big number and compete in the endgame.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
CP3 vs. Greivis Vasquez/Isaiah Thomas
Based on Vasquez's recent defensive struggles, I'd expect to see a) lots of help on screens and b) early Isaiah. Trapping doesn't usually work on Paul, but nothing really does, to be honest. The good news is that you can punish him on the other end.
3 THINGS TO WATCH OTHER THAN CP3
1. Free throws for Cousins and Isaiah. Both Kings have been racking up foul shots this season, and L.A. is No. 29 in foul rate. Both DeAndre Jordan and Griffin are susceptible to hacking when they get beat. Cousins did a good job scoring from the line when his shot wasn't falling on Wednesday; it'd be cool to see the shot fall and the FTs pile up.
2. Bench battle up front. The Clippers' bench frontcourt is horrendous. I'm not sure Hamady N'Diaye can take advantage, but Patrick Patterson? Please do!
3. The Jimmer-Thorton saga. Fredette has earned his minutes. But Michael Malone's lineup decisions have been a bit unpredictable to date.
Lost my haiku card.
Six syllables 'stead of five.
But the Kings are undefeated when I totally screw up the format so who's laughing now, eh?
Clippers 106, Kings 106. Game called due to alien invasion.