The Los Angeles Clippers (16-15) look to end their three-game losing streak against the Sacramento Kings (13-19) this Wednesday evening on NBA TV. The Kings are coming off a 15-point loss in Golden State on Monday. But what about the NBA odds?
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Sacramento Kings
Wednesday, December 22, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Golden 1 Center
The Clippers (13-18 ATS) are a 5.5-point road favorite over the Kings (14-18 ATS) at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. Sacramento has already beaten the Clippers twice this month. Can they make it three in a row?
These teams met twice in the first week of December with the Kings taking both matchups. In the first game in Los Angeles, the Kings got up early in the first quarter and never looked back in a 124-115 win that saw the Clippers down by 23 points going into the fourth.
Sacramento shot great from the field (52.3%), including one of the team’s best three-point efforts (15-of-38) of the season. The Clippers were cold in that department, shooting 9-of-31 from three.
Kings’ rookie Davion Mitchell scored 20 points off the bench to join De'Aaron Fox (24) and Terence Davis (23) as 20-point scorers that night. Unfortunately, all three players are out for this game as they have been in the COVID protocol, leaving Sacramento very shorthanded for this game.
The Clippers have their own health problems. Kawhi Leonard (ACL) has been out the whole season, and starters Paul George and Nicolas Batum were inactive for that December 1st meeting with the Kings. George returned for the December 4th rematch in Sacramento, but he only shot 5-of-21 from the field. Both teams struggled to score, but it was one of the worst games of the season for Los Angeles (38.2% from the field). The Clippers even missed 9 free throws in the 104-99 loss.
The Clippers just had an ugly week with a 21-point loss in Utah, a 1-point loss to a terrible Oklahoma City team, and a 24-point loss to the Spurs despite George returning from a five-game absence to score 25 points.
But the Clippers were destroyed 67-43 on the boards against the Spurs, their worst rebounding game of the season. Rebounding has been an issue for the Clippers, who have only won the rebound battle in 10 of 31 games. They have eight games where they lost the rebound battle by at least a dozen boards. The Clippers rank 27th in rebound percentage for the season, though it is an area where Sacramento is only 25th.
While the Clippers have floundered offensively without Leonard, the defense remains reliable, ranked 4th in defensive rating. Defense is where the Kings have really struggled, ranked 29th in defensive rating. They also rank 28th in home games. These teams allow the most points in the paint per game this season.
The Kings have been shorthanded the last few games because of COVID. While a loss in Golden State is no surprise, the Kings did manage to win a 121-114 game against the San Antonio team that killed the Clippers on the boards. Buddy Hield is a prolific three-point shooter who runs hot and cold lately, but he needs to have a big game for the Kings in this one.
The Clippers are not spared either from COVID protocols. Marcus Morris Sr. will miss this game. He has emerged as the team’s third-leading scorer and will be missed.
Reggie Jackson has really cooled down ever since he had a 0-point performance against Golden State a month ago. In the first 19 games this season, Jackson averaged 18.4 points and shot 40.4%. In his last 12 games, Jackson is down to 15.3 points and only making 37.0% of his shots. His season FG% (.391) would be the lowest since he was a rookie with the Thunder.
Neither team has impressed this season, but it is hard to back the Kings without so many key players available. The Clippers’ struggles with scoring and rebounding should be helped by a poor defensive and rebounding opponent.
I’ll take George and company to get a cover for your NBA picks.
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