Hey there! How was your Christmas? Ohh really? You don’t say? Wow that is frustrating! Oh and your parents too huh? Yeah, yep I read that article too. Hey listen: IT’S DECEMBER 26TH AND THAT MEAAAAANS KINGS BASKETBALL! The Kings are in Los Angeles and ready to start a post-Christmas double-header by taking on a Clippers squad so completely depleted and dismantled, they’d go by the Los Angeles Lifeboats if they were aiming for accuracy. There’s a joke in there about Blake Griffin, Austin Rivers and children being the first on lifeboats, but Blake Griffin and Austin Rivers are already jokes to themselves and I don’t want to think that hard after the eggnog I drank yesterday. Let’s talk Kings basketball!
When: Tuesday, December 26th; 7:30 pm PST
Where: Staples Center; Los Angeles, CA
TV: NBCSCA, NBATV
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
Merry Clips-miss: The Clippers are currently in basketball hell; not good enough to make a playoff appearance but not necessarily bad enough to go high in the lottery. Maybe they trade De’Andre Jordan to Bucks and rest Griffin for the season. Maybe the make a foolhardy trade for George Hill and try to make a second half of the season run at the 8th seed. But, for now, the Clippers are mediocre and that is the most dangerous type of team in the league for fans of the Kings. They’re middle of the road in most everything: 17th in points per game at 104.5 a contest, give up the 19th most in the NBA at 106.9 opponent points per game, run at the 16th highest pace, 20th in field goal percentage (44.5%), 21st in three point percentage at (35.4%), 16th in two point percentage, 21st in total rebounds and blocks... this goes on for quite awhile. The Clippers are bad enough now, that this game should be competitive and probably even end in a Kings win. But they’re so injured, so unknown and there’s enough players getting minutes now playing for their basketball lives, that they might just try-hard themselves into beating up on the Kings. The Kings have to be the ones to dictate the terms of engagement tonight, and play their game. Their game has produced 10 more losses than wins, but at least their is a cohesive plan and familiarity. For the last eight games a man named Jamil Wilson has started for the Clippers, and I’m still unsure as to whether or not that isn’t an Alan Smithee style pseudonym for a player that wishes to stay anonymous. The Kings can win this game by just being solid; solid rebounding, solid defense, solid score. So predictably, prepare for a 25 point blowout.
Here Comes Austin Rivers: As the playoff version of the Clippers has bobbed and then fully sunk below the waves of injuries earlier this season, one thing became abundantly clear: Austin Rivers and Lou Williams know how to swim. On a team with no one else to score, both Rivers and Williams of late have done their best to save themselves, and in the process put up some meaningless, but high scoring outputs. In their previous game, Rivers and Williams scored 38 and 36 points respectively; Rivers in particular shot well, 14-20 from the field and 5-8 from three. The game before that: 36 points for Rivers and 32 for Lou Williams. Lou Williams has made a career of this, but Austin Rivers? This is an interesting development. This isn’t just shot jacking for Rivers either. In the last 3 games, Rivers has averaged 31.3 points on 54% shooting from the field and 45% from three. In the indicative of Austin finally being unleashed and allowed to shine on a team where he can be the focal point? Heck no. But I am saying that he sees the water rising all around him and he’s got his flippers, water wings and goggles on, and hes ready for a dip. The Kings will have to keep a close handle on guys like Rivers and Williams as they can be the ones to beat the Kings just on the sheer volume of their shooting alone; if they get warm, and go unchecked by a sometimes-present perimeter defense, the Kings could be in trouble.
Prediction: Austin and Lou Will combine for 40 shots and 20 points. De’Andre Jordan grabs 22 boards and scores 7 points. Milos Teodosic and Bogdan Bogdanovic come out of halftime and start playing H-O-R-S-E to see who can make the prettier pass. Milos wins, but wouldn’t you know it: this was all just a distraction and the Kings win the game by 17.
Kings: 107, Clippers: 90