Where do the Sacramento Kings stand right now?
A second-place finish in the Western Conference is within striking distance for the Kings, who trail the Trail Blazers by only two games. Not only is Sacramento on the verge of breaking their postseason drought, but they are also on the verge of entering the playoffs as one of the best teams in the league.
Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox, two All-Stars on the Kings’ roster, are the primary contributors to the team’s ascent in the Western Conference. They serve as the driving forces behind one of the most high-octane attacks in the league. Although also contributing 18.8 points per game to the Kings’ scoring average, Sabonis is now the team leader in assists, averaging approximately 6.9 per game. Fox is the team’s top scorer, averaging 24.8 points per contest in his career. He averages 6.2 assists per game, putting him in second place in the category. Due of these two factors, the Kings are now in first place in the league with 119.5 points scored per game and 118.1 points scored for every 100 possessions. This puts them only 0.1 points behind the club that currently holds the top spot.
Take a look at their most recent game to get an idea of the kind of damage the Kings are capable of doing. The Portland Trail Blazers were blown out by Sacramento, who scored 133 points on 54 percent shooting. Fox was the leading scorer for his squad, as he exploded for 31 points and missed just four of his attempts during the game. Sabonis had another game in which he excelled in all facets of the game, including earning a triple-double with a line of 18-18-10.
Since their squad is so successful, the beam that the Kings light up after each victory is seldom having any time to rest.
What exactly is going on with the Los Angeles Clippers?
The Clippers are now just 3.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the second spot in the Western Conference. On the other hand, this is precisely the position that everyone anticipated them to be in at this stage of the season.
The Clippers have had a sluggish start to the season and have been beset by injuries, particularly to franchise superstars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. But, during the course of the last few games, they have started to get fit and have found a strong rhythm for their play. LA has won 10 of their past 14 games before the All-Star break, including a five-game winning run. They come into this encounter on a roll, having won their previous two games in a row. What makes this squad so dangerous is the fact that although George and Leonard have been playing like All-Stars this season, the rest of the team have found their groove as well.
In their previous victory over the Phoenix Suns before the break Leonard and George struggled to get their offense going. George had a shooting percentage of 9/19, but Leonard was much worse, scoring just 16 points on 5/18 of his shots. They were able to cruise to an easy victory against the Suns as a result of the contributions made by the bench players. Terance Mann led the squad in scoring with 26 points. Both Bones Hyland and Eric Gordon, who were recently acquired, contributed 22 points off the bench.
The new-look Clippers are set to introduce their newest member, Russell Westbrook, in this game against the Kings. It merely provides this squad another weapon at their disposal.
Be mindful of the following storyline:
Westbrook seemed to be really pleased to be playing for the Clippers. It would be difficult not to when numerous players on the club, including George, one of the team’s most prominent stars, were aggressively recruiting him to play for them. This is in stark contrast to the treatment he received from the other club in Los Angeles, where he wasn’t even wanted on their roster.
This indicates that Westbrook will be given the opportunity to play basketball in the manner that most suits him. While it seems like a fantastic idea when it’s written down, it doesn’t always pan out so well when it’s put into practice.
Westbrook has the potential to be an influential player for the Clippers who can also provide opportunities for his teammates. He is also capable of doing insane things out on the court, which may completely derail the flow of an opponent’s squad. For better or worse, LA is getting all of Westbrook. Westbrook should have a lot of opportunity to make plays for his new club in this game against the Kings since the Kings are an offense-oriented team that enjoys free-flowing basketball. How it will work out however is yet to be seen.
The Kings have an opportunity to capitalize on some of the post-All-Star break fatigue as well as the incorporation of Westbrook. They will need to get out to a quick start and put the pressure on the Clippers until they can no longer keep up with them. It is their greatest chance of coming out on top. If they let the Clippers catch up to them, the Clippers, who have the tenth best defense in the league, will be able to wear them out and win the game.