Sacramento Kings vs Los Angeles Clippers (2/24 @ 10:30 PM EST)
Spread: Clippers -5.5
Money Line: Kings +210 / Clippers -275
Overview and Betting info
The Sacramento Kings (32-25) will be heading to the City of Angels to take on the LA Clippers (33-28) in a battle between two potential playoff teams. These teams have met twice, with the road team winning each game. The Kings are fourth in the West, just one game ahead of the Clippers.
The Kings are 30-26-1 against the spread this season but have covered just two of their last seven games. They’ve gone over the total 27 times and have done so in five of their last six games.
The Clippers are 31-30 versus the spread and have covered six of their last ten games. The have gone over the total 27 times, including in four of their last six games.
The Kings come into Friday’s game having won three of their last five games before the All-Star break. Their scoring has been consistently excellent, but their defense has struggled over their last five games, allowing 123.6 points during that stretch. It’s been an issue most of the season, but their offense had made up for it. The Kings rank first in scoring (119.5 PPG), third in field goal percentage (49.4%), eighth in three-point percentage (36.5%), and fifth in assists (26.8 APG). On defense, Sacramento ranks twenty-third in opponent scoring (117.2 PPG), twenty-ninth in field goal percentage (49.3%), twenty-second in three-point percentage (36.7%), twentieth in steals (6.6 SPG), and twenty-ninth in blocks (3.3 BPG). The Kings are 15-13 on the road this season.
The Kings have been led by De’Aaron Fox (24.8 PPG, 6.2 APG, 1.1 SPG) and Domantas Sabonis (18.8 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 6.9 APG). Fox has had an incredible month, averaging 30.3 points, 7.2 assists, and 1.7 steals. He torched the Clippers for 36 points in their first match but was limited to a 41.7% field goal percentage for 14 points in their second. Sabonis has been incredible and leads the NBA in rebounding. The center has scored well this month, averaging 20.5 points over his last eight games. One area of concern for Sabonis has been his ability to stay out of foul trouble. He has had five or more fouls in four of his last eight games, limiting his impact. Sabonis has played better on the road this season, giving the Kings an edge on Friday.
The Kings have no shortage of depth with a trio of support players in Kevin Huerter (14.9 PPG, 1.1 SPG), Harrison Barnes (14.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG), and Malik Monk (13.4 PPG, 3.9 APG). Huerter has been a solid scorer and defender for the Kings, averaging 1.3 steals per game in February. Barnes has had issues with his shot this month, making just 43.4% from the field and 31% from three. That’s down after making 49% from both areas in January. Monk is averaging 15.8 points over his last six games, making 43.5% of his threes and 50% of his shots from the field. Monk did not play more than 20 minutes in either Clippers game, so we’ll see if his increased playing time gives the Kings an edge on Friday.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers came into the All-Star break strong, having won four of their last six games. Their previous two wins were among the most impressive, beating the Warriors and Suns by at least nine. The Clippers’ offense has been an issue, ranking twenty-seventh in scoring (111.4 PPG), twentieth in field goal percentage (46.9%), and twenty-fifth in assists (22.9 APG). They shoot the three well, ranking sixth by making 37.8% of their attempts. The LA defense has been much better, ranking fourth in opponent scoring (111.1 PPG), eleventh in field goal percentage (47.0%), and twelfth in blocks (4.3 BPG). The Clippers haven’t been very good at home, going 15-13 this season.
LA is led by Paul George (23.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.5 SPG) and Kawhi Leonard (22.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.4 SPG). George has been consistently great all season, making 46.1% of his shots and 38.2% from three. He has shot the ball better on the road this season, highlighted by his 40-point performance in Sacramento to begin the year. Leonard is having his best season in three years, thanks to already having 34 games under his belt. While his scoring has been down this month, he still makes 46.4% of his threes in his six February games. Leonard did not play in either of their games against the Kings this season.
The Clippers made some moves at the trade deadline and have a deep group of scorers led by Norman Powell (17.0 PPG, 41.7% 3PT) and Eric Gordon (13.0 PPG, 34.8% 3PT). Powell is having a fantastic February by averaging 21.3 points and making 50% of his shots. He also has eight steals in his last five games. Powell was a non-factor in their first game, scoring just four points, but he was out for their second meeting. Gordon was acquired just a couple weeks ago but is averaging over 15 points over the last two months. He faced the Kings twice this month with the Rockets, scoring a combined 25 points, 12 assists, and three steals. Always watch for Ivica Zubac (10.2 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.3 BPG), as the center has been dominant down low. He is the perfect complement to the Clippers’ shooters and is why this team could be dangerous come playoff time.
Free Pick: Kings +5.5
The Clippers got a lot better since the trade deadline, but they will take time to figure out where everyone fits. They added Eric Gordon, Bones Hyland, Mason Plumlee, and now Russel Westbrook. That’s a lot of solid talent, but they will take time to gel after having a week off for the All-Star break.
We also have significant concerns about the Clippers’ play at home. Their record is about .500, thanks to their best shooters playing worse in LA. George, Leonard, and Powell have all scored more and had better shooting percentages when on the road this season. The new pieces may help alleviate that, but clearly, something is off in LA.
While we love the Clippers’ defense, the Kings will be able to put up 120 in what should be a close game. They have played together all season and have been as good on the road as the Clippers at home. Sabonis and Fox will cause plenty of problems, but the Kings have so many other scorers they should have enough to wear down the Clippers. That’s especially true if LA’s home shooting struggles continue.
We’re taking the points to roll with the Kings and the league’s top offense.