Preview: Sacramento At L.A. Clippers
When: 10:30 PM ET, Saturday, January 16, 2016
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
The Los Angeles Clippers have already proven they can win without Blake Griffin, and now they don’t need DeAndre Jordan, either. The Clippers hope to have Jordan back in the lineup when they attempt to push the winning streak to 11 straight by hosting the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.
Jordan held the longest current streak of consecutive games played at 360 before being forced out of the lineup on Wednesday due to a bout with pneumonia. The Clippers, who have played the last nine without Griffin (quad), adjusted yet again with Cole Aldrich stepping up in a 104-90 victory over the Miami Heat. Los Angeles could probably use Jordan’s defensive presence against Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who had a double-double prior to halftime on Thursday and finished with 36 points and 17 rebounds in a 103-101 win at the Utah Jazz. Cousins carried the load but it was forward Rudy Gay playing the hero with a last-second jumper after Sacramento had squandered all of a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, CSN California (Sacramento), Prime Ticket (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE KINGS (16-23): Sacramento appeared to have the game in hand on Thursday before Utah scored six straight points to tie it late, and Cousins recognizes that the poor performances down the stretch need to change. “The biggest thing is it showed we’re still not there,” Cousins told reporters. “We’re still making the same mistakes, we’re still letting teams back in games, we’re still letting up in games defensively. We can’t be the team we want to be continuing to make these same mistakes.” Defense is the biggest issue for the Kings, who are last in the NBA with an average of 108.4 points allowed.
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (26-13): Aldrich made his first start of the season in place of Jordan on Wednesday and scored a season-high 17 points, including 13 in the third quarter as Los Angeles took control. “I kept telling him I’d get the ball to him,” point guard Chris Paul told reporters of Aldrich. “Then to start the second half, we just started clicking, and he got rolling.” Paul Pierce, who has been getting most of the starts in place of Griffin, played a key role again with 15 points and a season-high nine rebounds in the win and has scored in double figures in four of his last eight games.
1. Clippers PG Pablo Prigioni recorded eight steals in 15 minutes off the bench on Wednesday – tying the NBA season high.
2. Cousins is averaging 32.9 points and 13.4 rebounds in seven games this month.
3. Los Angeles has taken five straight in the series, including a pair of wins in October.
PREDICTION: Clippers 119, Kings 111