Covid-19 is beginning to take a hold of the NBA, but the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings are scheduled to play on Friday night. There are two games already postponed, with the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons, and the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns called off. The Suns don’t have enough players cleared to play, and the team is undergoing contract tracing at the moment.
Meanwhile, the Wizards have an outbreak with five players testing positive for the virus. They are not going to be playing basketball for the foreseeable future. Outbreaks are going to happen between individual teams. The problem is when it gets passed on to other teams and so on down the line. So far that hasn’t been an issue, though. Fingers crossed.
The LA Clippers are coming off a tight 111-106 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night. It was the second consecutive game that the Clippers played where it ended up being closer than the public believed. The Chicago Bulls did a good job staying within reach of the Clippers despite a 130-127 loss.
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, as they should, led the way for the Clippers with 27 and 28 points. The Clippers advanced to 8-4 on the season with the win. They’ve been solid, but not really up to expectations. It was a disappointing season for them in the 2019-20 campaign to say the least. There hasn’t been anything to suggest the Clippers are going to the NBA Finals thus far.
However, it’s still really early and that can change in a hurry. If everything comes together for the Clippers at the right time, they can beat any team in the league in the playoffs. I know the Brooklyn Nets are getting plenty of hype because of James Harden, but I see the trophy staying in the Western Conference again. That team could be the Clippers.
It’s not going to be the Sacramento Kings, but they’re at least going in the right direction. A 5-7 record may not look like much. However, there are some things to like about the Kings. Their starting lineup has plenty of offensive prowess with the duo of De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield.
Tyrese Haliburton looks like a future star, and he’s available off the bench for the Kings. His role as a bench player likely won’t last long, though. When it comes to the Kings, defense has been optional, though. That will have to be addressed in the offseason. Head below for our free Clippers vs. Kings pick on January 15, 2021.
LA Clippers vs. Sacramento Kings NBA Betting Odds:
Clippers vs. Kings Prediction:
The Kings aren’t winning in the Western Conference before they can straighten out their defensive situation. There is a lot of young talent on this roster that just wants to run and shoot. Before the wins begin to pile up, there has to be an emphasis on the other side of the floor, though. The Kings can use the Phoenix Suns as a roadmap if they want to look at a team for motivation. The Suns had young offensive talent, but no defense. Now we’ve seen the Suns become a more balanced team, and the results have shown in the standings.
The Suns are currently a 7-4 team and tied with the Utah Jazz for third in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Kings are 12th in the league with a record of 5-7. Why? When you’re allowing 122 points per game, which is good for 30th in the league, it’s hard to keep a record above .500. I know scoring has been up considerably in the NBA over the last few years, but 122 points against isn’t going to work.
Note that the Kings have allowed an average of 130.75 points a game through their last four outings. That likely isn’t going to work against the Clippers on Friday night. I know the Clippers probably haven’t played up to their full potential offensively yet, but they can still score the basketball. The Clippers are 13th in the NBA with an average of 111.8 points per game.
There are plenty of mismatches on the floor that they can exploit in this one. Fortunately for the Kings, their offense has carried the load, and has been playing quite nicely behind their young talent. The Kings are 8th in the league with 114.8 points a game, and a couple of points better at home in 2020-21. I think offense is the way to look in this matchup. The OVER is worth a look in Sacramento.