SACRAMENTO KINGS

Preview: Kings, Clippers meet with postseason positioning at stake

Apr 2, 2024, 9:20 AM | Updated: 11:14 am

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 25: James Harden #1 of the Los Angeles Clippers brings the ball ...

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

As the Sacramento Kings learn to adapt to life without Kevin Huerter (shoulder surgery) and Malik Monk (MCL sprain), the final eight games of the regular season will give them few chances to catch their breath.

The Kings (43-31) enter play on Tuesday as the eighth seed in the Western Conference standings, sitting a half-game behind the seventh-seed Phoenix Suns and 1.5 games behind the sixth-seed New Orleans Pelicans.

Six of Sacramento’s final eight games will be against teams currently in the postseason mix, starting with a showdown against the Los Angeles Clippers at Golden 1 Center on Tuesday night.

Los Angeles (47-27) currently holds the fourth-seed spot in the West standings, although the surging Dallas Mavericks have pulled within two games of the Clippers after winning seven straight games.

The Kings’ offense looked as lethal as ever during Sunday’s win over the shorthanded Utah Jazz, but a recently depleted rotation will be tested in the coming weeks as Sacramento looks to prove it can still make some noise with this current roster.

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Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Clippers Game Info

When: 7:00 PM PST

Where: Golden 1 Center  – Sacramento, CA

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 5:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Kings -2.5, O/U 222.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Clippers coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Attack From Beyond The Arc

For a Kings team that has mostly lived and died by the long-ball this season, the plan of attack for Tuesday’s game won’t be a surprise.

Los Angeles has struggled to defend the three this season–especially since the NBA All-Star break. Over the Clippers past 21 games, they have allowed opponents to shoot 40.3 percent on 35.3 attempts from three-point range.

This season, Sacramento holds a 32-11 record (.744) when shooting 35 percent or higher from deep. When shots are falling from beyond the arc, good things happen for the Kings, as was the case during Sunday’s win over the Jazz (20-of-40).

While Los Angeles has struggled to contain the three this year, they have found success against Sacramento during three previous matchups. The Kings have converted just 33 percent of their attempts from deep against the Clippers this season, the third-lowest three-point percentage against Los Angeles’ defense this season (minimum three head-to-head games).

If you believe in due, Sacramento is due to break through against a Clippers defense that has allowed opponents to shoot nearly 43 percent (.427) from three over the past 15 games.

More From Murray & HB

A large reason why the Kings were able to find success on the offensive end during Sunday’s win was due to Keegan Murray (25 points on 5/12 3PT) and Harrison Barnes (24 points on 5/7 3pt), who scored 20+ points during the same game for the first time this season.

Good things happen for Sacramento when Murray and Barnes have been largely involved in the offense this season:

  • The Kings this season when Murray scores 20+ points: 12-5 (.705)
  • The Kings this season when Barnes scores 15+ points: 18-5 (.782)

With Huerter and Monk out for the rest of the regular season, the Kings will need others to step up on the offensive end. During Monday’s practice, head coach Mike Brown alluded to the fact that Murray and Barnes are players he’s looking towards for more impact on offense.

“Somebody told me one time that adversity leads to opportunity, and the reality of it is, I don’t care what anybody says–we’ve had to deal with some adversity, especially at this point of the season. [Injuries to Monk and Huerter] are leading to opportunity for others. You know, Kessler [Edwards] stepped up and played well, Davion’s minutes have gone up, Keegan has to step up, [Barnes] has to step up, and now we got Sasha [Vezenkov] and Trey [Lyles] back.

“We still have some things down the stretch that we have to figure out, and so it’s going to lead to opportunities for other as well. I’m all for this, and and making sure that we grow and learn the right way while trying to help our guys sooner than later.”

The Kings can’t solely rely on De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis to carry the load on offense. Murray, who has had stretches of high-scoring games, is the ideal candidate to step up and create off-the-dribble, while Barnes and his 40 percent three-point shooting percentage will likely see a bump in volume the rest of the way.

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Is De’Aaron Fox due for a big game?

Sure, the Kings will need more from the supporting cast to have a better chance of making noise in the postseason, but De’Aaron Fox is still the motor that makes Sacramento go.

Fox hasn’t had his usual offensive punch in recent weeks, as the All-NBA guard is averaging 22.9 points per game on 42 percent shooting from the field over his past 12 contests.

A matchup against the Clippers could ignite Fox, who has enjoyed playing against Los Angeles over the past two seasons:

Fox since the start of last season vs. LAC (7 games): 30.3 PTS | 5.3 REB | 5.7 AST | 1.4 STL | 55% FG | 4-3 record

In two of the three matchups against the Clippers this season, Fox has scored 33 points or more, including a 40-point outing on November 29th at Golden 1 Center.

If Fox, who has scored 30+ points in a game just once March 8th, is due for a breakout game, Tuesday is as good a time as any.

Kings vs. Clippers Injury Report

Sacramento

  • Malik Monk – OUT (Right knee sprain)
  • Kevin Huerter – OUT (left shoulder dislocation)
  • Colby Jones – OUT (G-League)
  • Mason Jones – OUT (G-League)
  • Jalen Slawson – OUT (G-League)
  • Jordan Ford – OUT (G-League)

Los Angeles

  • Kawhi Leonard – OUT (right knee soreness)

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tuesday, April 2nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Clippers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Thursday, April 4th – Sacramento Kings @ New York Knicks – 4:30 PM PST
  • Friday, April 5th – Sacramento Kings @ Boston Celtics – 4:30 PM PST
  • Sunday, April 7th – Sacramento Kings @ Brooklyn Nets – 4:30 PM PST
  • Tuesday, April 9th – Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 5:00 PM PST

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