So, the NBA’s scheduling software needs some fine tuning does it not? The Kings have played in a world record 39 (plus or minus a few) back to backs so far this season and between each of them have taken approximately 3 years off. It’s nearing ridiculous. The last time I wrote a preview Kosta Koufos had a lush and thriving full head of hair, for Fox sake. The Kings are coming off of their extended haitus tonight to take on the team with the best record in the Western Conference, the ... Los Angeles... Clippers? Lob City is dead, it’s civic leaders cast out: Chris Paul to the second worst team in the West, De’Andre Jordan to Doncicville and Blake Griffin to the film capital of Eastern Michigan. This new brand of Clips is filled with blue collar guys, guys that never quite made it and whatever the hell Boban Marjanovic wants to claim he is. They’re fun, they work hard and they’re going down Thursday night. Let’s talk Kings basketball.
When: Thursday, November 29th; 7:30 pm PST
Where: Golden One Center, Sacramento, CA
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
Eh, Whats up, Doc? : So I feel like we need to reintroduce ourselves to the Western Conference pace car after what seems like forever with the three-assed monster that lurked the halls of Staples Center during Lakers road trips. The Clippers of old are gone, and in their stead, a team that I legitimately root for. They’re lead in scoring by Tobias Harris at 21.4 points per game, Danilo “Not Injured Yet” Galinari with 19.1 ppg and then two guys who haven’t started a game this season - Lou Williams who forever remains getting buckets at 18 points per game and Rockets castoff Montrezl Harrell at 15.9 points per game. You starting to see what I mean? They’ve got guys like Patrick Beverly, Avery Bradley, Marcin Gortat, and two time King-for-a-Day winner, Luc Mbah a Moute. They’re being steered by a rookie point guard in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with the longest name ever put onto the back of an NBA jersey. That isn’t hyperbole there, its fact and its fun! The Clippers are the Charles Bukowski of the NBA right now, and I’m here for it.
So let’s get into what they’ve done this season to scrap to the top of the parity pile. Winners in eight of their last night contests, the Clippers play fast and loose: they’re rolling in at the ninth fastest pace in the NBA, score the fourth highest amount of points at 116.8 a contest, and give up the tenth most points at 111.8. Coach Doc Rivers has his team playing within the top five in offensive rating and top ten in defensive rating and does so with a surprisingly conservative defense. The Clippers sit at the very bottom of the league in steals, and are currently 19th in the league in blocks, so the clamp they put on teams is subtle. To emphasize a bit more, this Clippers team is killing it on defense. Teams that play the Clippers have shot the worst percentage in the NBA from inside the arc, averaging just 43.5%, and the fifth worst percentage from deep at 33.2%. Forget what you think, this Kings team ain’t coming into an easy contest.
On the offensive side of things, the Clippers are getting by on trips to the free throw line and hitting timely shots. Los Angeles is getting to the free throw line at the third highest margin, and when they’re getting there, they convert. They’re fifth in the NBA in free throw percentage at 81.3%. In a very last-season-Kings move, the Clippers are 4th in the NBA in three point percentage at 38%. But guess what? They don’t take them. Like ever! They’re second to last in the NBA in attempting shots from long range. On offense the Clippers are in the lower half of the league in assists, but just above average in turnovers. They rebound right around league average but aren’t very good grabbing offensive boards. The Clippers are really working their one-two punch of having two 20ish point scorers on the floor, and then bringing two high teens scorers off the bench. It’s working, they’re succeeding and I might have a bit of a crush on this Los Angeles Clippers squad. JERRY WEST IS A MIRACLE MAN!
Oh, also, one more thing about the Clippers that I absolutely love and implore all Kings employees to bring to the ownership group. Developer (Developer, Developer) Steve Ballmer has helped push the Clippers online streaming to a really cool extreme with their Clippers CourtVision. Basically its an augmented reality program that allows different modes of viewing; ones with name tags and stats that follow the players as the run the floor, one where it shows cartoonish animations as the ball gets zipped around. I’m leaving a link to an article here and a subsequent video here. If Vivek wants NBA 3.0, this is the stuff the Kings should be pushing for.
Steve Ballmer has a coronary on live television in the first after he celebrates a pretty layup by squeezing all the blood in his body into the skin on his face. Boban Marjanovic hits a half-court buzzer beater as time ticks off the clock in the fourth quarter, but after reviewing the play, he’s a shade too late.
Kings 124, Clippers 122