Clippers return home, square off with Kings
The Los Angeles Clippers will gladly take home cooking and a few nights in their own beds, just excuse them if they are a bit hesitant to step on their home floor.
The Clippers will return home to face the Sacramento Kings in Los Angeles on Sunday, after going 3-1 on a cross-country journey that seemed to get them back on track. The Clippers left on the trip having lost five consecutive games, the last four of which came at home.
The Kings will enter with a bit of envy that the Clippers are amid familiar surroundings. Sacramento will be playing the final game of a mammoth six-game road trip that started way back on Jan. 17.
The Kings have gone 2-3 since hitting the road, earning a 99-96 victory over the fading Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. Buddy Hield scored 26 points for the Kings on Friday and De'Aaron Fox added 22, including a clutch 20-foot step-back jumper in the final minute.
The Kings most certainly will be anxious to put an end to the trip. They were on a four-game home winning streak before setting sail to Charlotte, Detroit, Brooklyn, Toronto, Memphis and now Los Angeles.
It has been such a grind that the Kings chose a get-together out on the town Wednesday in Memphis instead of practice, and had a short gym session Thursday. It worked to perfection in leading to Friday's victory.
"Winning on the road is hard," Kings coach Dave Joerger said. "We didn't make a lot of shots and we turned it over a little bit too much, but we just gritted it out. I thought our defense continued to be active and help each other."
In winning their final game of their four-game trip Friday, the Clippers seemed to make things far more difficult than needed in the 106-101 win. The Clippers got off to a hot start at Chicago against the Bulls, but disappeared in the second quarter. Chicago promptly went 16-of-26 from the field.
The Clippers didn't recover until they were nearly halfway through the final quarter and only sealed things against the lowly Bulls when Lou Williams made a four-point play in the closing minute.
At 32, Williams just keeps working his magic for the Clippers, scoring 31 points with 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the victory over the Bulls. The guard became the first player to have a 30-point triple-double off the bench since Detlef Schrempf in 1992.
Considering that the Clippers' late-arriving buses did not arrive until 45 minutes before the game, perhaps Los Angeles has found a new pregame routine.
"They were trapping a lot and Lou is one guy that when you trap him, he has no problem passing the ball," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "I think he has been covered by so many defenses that it's not that hard for him. He just made terrific passes and plays all night."
The Clippers' 3-1 run over their last four games has come without second-leading scorer Danilo Gallinari, who has been out with back spasms and is listed as day-to-day. The Kings are in good health heading into their road trip finale.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 26, 2019