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Kings vs. Clippers Preview: The Gauntlet Continues

The Kings continue their run through some of the NBA’s best teams.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

If the Kings hadn’t traded DeMarcus Cousins and were still in the playoff race, the current scheduled run of seven straight playoff ready opponents would have been brutal. Now it’s simply a nice test for our young guys while also ensuring that the team doesn’t ruin their chances at a high pick.

The Clippers are in the midst of a tight race for seeding with the Utah Jazz, their likely first round matchup. They easily dispatched Utah the other day, but right now they wouldn’t have homecourt advantage and that’s still important so they’ll likely be giving their all, even against the Kings.

The Clippers are one of the more experienced teams in the NBA now with their main core having been together for years now. Chris Paul is one of the best floor generals in NBA history and DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin are going to cause fits for the Kings now that they don’t have DeMarcus Cousins to beat up on them on the other end.

For Sacramento, they will look to avoid getting their bigs in particular in early foul trouble. L.A. attempts free throws at a greater rate than any other team in the NBA; That’s partly because of “Hack-a-Jordan” but even with Jordan and his paltry sub-50% FT%, the Clippers are still 4th in the NBA in Free Throws Made.

L.A.’s also very good from the perimeter, with veterans like J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and Paul Pierce ready to punish anyone who leaves them wide open. The Kings have the bad habit of doing that a lot so it could be a long night.

Malachi Richardson did not play on Friday against the Warriors, but every game at this point could be his post-trade debut. If he does play, I’m eager to see how he fits in with Buddy Hield and Sacramento’s other additions.

This is an early tip-off at 12:30 p.m. Go Kings!