Pacific Division rivals in the lottery portion of the Western Conference face each other this afternoon. While both squads have losing records, the 13-28 Sacramento Kings and 20-21 Los Angeles Clippers are trending in opposite directions (3:30 p.m. ET Saturday).
Sacramento has six losses in its last seven games, while the Clippers have won nine of their last 12 despite facing terrible luck with injuries.
These two teams have already met three times this season, with the Clippers taking all three matchups by a combined 35 points. They also just met on Thursday of this week — Los Angeles held off a furious Sacramento comeback to win by six points.
Los Angeles is the favorite with the offshore sports betting sites, obviously. Can Sacramento keep things close or win, though? Let’s break down some key aspects of this game, take a look at the betting lines and make our predictions and picks.
Can Montrezl Harrell Keep Up His Hot Play in a Bigger Role?
Clippers starting center DeAndre Jordan is questionable to play in this game because of a sprained ankle. Even if the All-Star big man does participate, he is likely to play less and not be quite as effective as usual.
This should mean Harrell, the Clippers’ backup center, will get a longer look. He poured in 25 points and six rebounds in 27 minutes against the Kings on Thursday, playing most of his minutes because of Jordan’s injury. His fantastic play of late (11 points and 5.2 rebounds per game) ensures that he will play a big role today.
Playing in the starting lineup is a different challenge, though. The competition is tougher there, and opponents are good at singling out players’ weaknesses. Harrell is not nearly as good of a rim protector or defensive rebounder as Jordan, so that’s something to watch out for.
Will the Sacramento Kings Make it a Priority to Take Open Three-Pointers?
If the Kings could spring themselves open for more three-pointers, they would be a lot better as a team. Sacramento ranks third in the NBA in three-point percentage (37.9), but they rank just 27th in made threes per game (8.6).
In the Thursday matchup between these squads, the Kings stayed very close despite little help from their three-point attack (8-of-26, for 30.8 percent). The Clippers were 13-of-31, which equates to 41.9 percent.
The Clippers’ defense around the perimeter is a definite weakness for the game. Sacramento needs to exploit this by running offensive sets that aim to end in open outside shots.
Can One Kings Player Produce a Big Scoring Night to Match Lou Williams?
No player in the NBA is in as much of a scoring groove right now as Williams. The 31-year-old combo guard has put up a spectacular 31.6 points per contest on a blistering 66.8 true shooting percentage in his last 10 contests.
It’s pretty reasonable to suggest that Williams will continue lighting up the scoreboard against the Kings’ league-worst defense. However, can anyone playing for Sacramento give him a run for his money?
The Kings are a very balanced offensive team. Zach Randolph leads the team with an average of just 15 points per game, with five other players between 10.1 and 12.4 points per game. One of those players, or perhaps an even more unheralded contributor, must be able to trade buckets with Williams for Sacramento to win tonight.
Our Preview’s Sacramento Kings at LA Clippers Betting Picks & Predictions
The Clippers have the edge here, but because of their inferior depth, health issues and lack of strong home-court advantage, it might not be by a huge margin. The Kings have a pretty healthy roster and have a chance to run away with this afternoon game against the more tired legs of Clippers regulars. Here are this preview’s Kings vs Clippers predictions and betting picks:
- They haven’t posted betting lines yet, because of those doubts over players, but we expect the Clippers to be around 8-point favorites with the sportsbooks. Assuming that is correct, bet on the Kings +8pts on the spread @ around +110 odds with the likes of Bovada or Intertops. LA Clippers have actually been much better on the road than at home as of late.
- The Clippers could be without DeAndre Jordan or have a limited version of him, which would drastically affect their defense. The Kings also found an offensive groove against the Clippers on Thursday, and they have the firepower to put up a decent total again. We anticipate the under / over for the total points being set somewhere near the 212-points figure. If that is the case then our prediction is to bet the over with one of USAbetting’s recommended sportsbooks.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.