NBA Preseason: Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Clippers Preview, Predictions, Picks

Blake GriffinThe Sacramento Kings will visit the Los Angeles Clippers tonight in each team’s final preseason game (10:30pm ET Thursday).

Neither team has impressed during the preseason, for what it’s worth. The squads have a combined record of 2-5 and both have per-game point differentials of minus-7 or worse. The good news, obviously, is that preseason results aren’t totally trustworthy and often have a lot to do with teams using weird rotations and key players not going 100 percent.

The Clippers will be without at least a few players on Thursday, and news on the Kings’ absences has yet to surface. How will the game turn out? We’ll preview the contest and then give some insight on the best bets on the game’s spread and over/under.

Will the Clippers’ Perimeter Defense Be Able to Contain Sacramento’s Scorers?

The Clippers will play without several players on the perimeter. Danilo Gallinari is doubtful, and Patrick Beverley, Austin Rivers, Sam Dekker and Sindarius Thornwell are all out with minor injuries.

That leaves a very thin guard rotation of likely Milos Teodosic, Lou Williams, Wesley Johnson and Jawun Evans. The defense is specifically a problem in that group.

Sacramento doesn’t have a bunch of offensive explosiveness on the perimeter, but it does have some nice scorers. Buddy Hield can light it up from the outside, George Hill is solid all around and Bogdan Bogdanovic is also a versatile shot-maker. De’Aaron Fox is questionable, but his speed would be a major thorn in the Clippers’ side.

Assuming all three guys play in the preseason finale, Los Angeles could have an extremely difficult time stopping its backcourt counterparts.

How Will the Kings’ Frontcourt Inexperience Match Up Against Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan?

On the other hand, the Clippers should have a huge advantage at the starting power forward and center spots. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are both All-Star caliber players and are easily better than anyone Sacramento has to offer at those positions.

While Zach Randolph is an established 36-year-old veteran, Skal Labissiere, Georgios Papagiannis and Willie Cauley-Stein are all raw prospects still trying to find their way in the NBA. Randolph’s experience may not even be that helpful, since both Griffin and Jordan are infinitely more explosive than him.

Sacramento will have to keep a close eye on Griffin and Jordan in the pick-and-roll, in transition and on the glass. That’s much easier said than done.

Which Roster’s Chemistry Shows the Most Signs of Development?

The Clippers may have a veteran-laden roster, but there’s been a lot of turnover around Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Building chemistry with a mostly new roster takes time.

Sacramento also has some new pieces, including George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter. But it also has a lot of young players who don’t really have chemistry with anyone yet. Maybe they developed some after the DeMarcus Cousins trade last season, but there’s still plenty of work to do

In the regular season dress rehearsal for both teams, the emphasis will be on making sure the offensive sets are down pat and the defensive rotations are crisp. Will the veteran team with less chemistry or the young team with a little bit more experience playing together triumph?

Our Preview’s Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Clippers Betting Picks & Predictions

Los Angeles may be missing a bunch of guards, but Sacramento may also decide to rest some between now and the start of the contest. It’s far from a guarantee that the Clippers will be the more shorthanded squad.

The prolific scoring, rebounding, passing and defensive prowess of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan should prove to be too much for the Kings. No one on Sacramento’s roster is nearly as formidable as those two.

  • If you regularly read our previews then you’ll know the American bookies, well all the oddsmakers in fact, avoid publishing betting lines on the NBA It scares them too much. However 5Dimes Sportsbook does have this line, with Los Angeles 8-point favorites. We are happy to give up that deficit and advise a bet on the Clippers -8pts @ -115 with 5Dimes.
  • Both these teams should be better on offense than defense this season. With mostly poor perimeter defenders remaining for Los Angeles, this could turn into a shootout. Bet the over on 5Dimes’ over/under of 205.5pts @ -115 betting odds.