Clippers and Kings battle to remain in playoff contention in Western Conference


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LA Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers head to Sacramento to take on the Kings in a Western Conference match up. The teams are fighting for their playoff lives with the Clippers having taken the first three meetings this season. Los Angeles is 34-28 on the season and 17-16 on the road, while Sacramento is 31-29 and 19-11 at home.

The two teams mimic each other in terms of strengths and weaknesses. The Clippers are seven in scoring, compared to tenth for the Kings. Both teams struggle defensively, ranked 24th and 26th, respectively, in points allowed per game. On the boards, both teams rank in the middle of the pack. The Kings are slightly better and taking care of the ball, ranked 16th in turnovers compared to 22nd for the Clippers.

Since the departure of Tobias Harris in the trade to Philadelphia, Lou Williams has been the Clippers top option on offense. He's averaging 19.9 points and hitting 37 percent from three-point range. Danil Gallinari hits 44 percent from beyond the arc and drops 18.8 per game. Montrezl Harrell provides strong play offensively (16.3 points) and on the boards (6.3 rebounds). Ivica Zubiac leads the team in rebounds at 6.7 per game, while Landry Shamet and JaMychal Green are long range threats off the bench.

While the Clippers rank third in three-point efficiency, the Kings are right behind them. Buddy Hield leads the team in scoring at 20.6 points and in three-point shooting at 45 percent. Nemanja Bjelica connects on 42 percent coming off the bench. De'Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic combine with Hield to average 53 points per game.  Willie Cauley-Stein and Marvin Bagley are solid on the boards and could pose problems for the Clippers underneath. Add in the veteran presence of Harrison Barnes and his 10.3 points per game to complete a deep unit.

Los Angeles has had the decided advantage this season. Both teams are 6-4 over their last ten so there is no edge in terms of trend of recent play. The teams are extremely evenly matched, which should make for one of the best games of the day. In what will likely be a shootout, look for the Kings to win and tighten the race for the final playoff seed in the Western Conference.

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