Clippers still rule in Sacramento Kings' castle: Five takeaways from Friday's win

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Andrew Greif
·3 min read
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The Clippers' Paul George drives against the Kings' De'Aaron Fox during the first quarter Jan. 15, 2021.
Paul George, who had 26 points, drives on the Kings' De'Aaron Fox in a 138-100 win at Sacramento, where the Clippers have won 15 straight. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

In a city where the Clippers have ruled for nearly a decade, there was no lost double-digit lead Friday, and no second-half suspense.

A 33-8 run during a nine-minute stretch of the third quarter broke open a comfortable 138-100 Clippers victory over Sacramento.

The victory was the Clippers’ 15th consecutive in Sacramento, continuing the NBA’s longest active road wining streak against a single opponent. The Kings have not beaten the Clippers at home since March 19, 2013.

Five takeaways from the win:

1.) No Beverley, but no drop-off

Starting guard Patrick Beverley did not play, with the team citing personal reasons, and his absence from the lineup has typically been an ominous sign for the Clippers, who have so often struggled to stay sharp defensively without him.

There was no such problem against the Kings, however. The Clippers (9-4) forced 10 steals, only the fourth time this season they’ve recorded double-digit steals, and allowed just six offensive rebounds despite plenty of opportunities on the glass for the Kings (5-8), who shot just 30.8% on three-pointers. Buddy Hield, Sacramento’s best deep threat, made just two of his nine shots from deep.

2.) A steady effort from Jackson

Even though coach Tyronn Lue felt backup guard Reggie Jackson had played well through the season’s first two weeks, he left the veteran on the outside looking in on the team’s new nine-man rotation, which was introduced this week. But with Beverley and Lou Williams both out, Jackson started Friday and didn’t commit the sin of doing too much when given his first opportunity in days.

Controlled and steady, Jackson scored 11 points, making half of his six three-pointers, and contributed three assists — and zero turnovers.

3.) No cooling off for George

There might not be a more in-rhythm three-point shooter in the entire NBA right now than Paul George, who made four of his eight three-pointers against the Kings. He’d entered the game shooting 51.6% on three-pointers this season.

George finished with 26 points to 27 for Kawhi Leonard. The best sign for their offense, however, was that forward Marcus Morris played his best offensive game since returning to the lineup after an eight-game absence because of knee trouble.

Morris had 14 points in his first 14 minutes and finished with 18, making four of his six three-pointers.

4.) Another glimpse of promising lineup

When forwards Morris and Nicolas Batum formed the front line of a small-ball lineup for the first time Sunday against Chicago, the Clippers said it was their first glimpse of a lineup they hope to play more often this season. Lue brought it back to close Friday’s first half, outscoring the Kings 6-5 in 90 seconds together. The Clippers view the lineup as dangerous because of its potential for defensive switching and spreading the floor for three-point shooting.

“It gives us a really two-way lineup where we can kind of do a little bit of everything,” George said Sunday, after Batum and Morris played their first five minutes together.

5.) Williams expected to return soon

After missing the second half of Wednesday’s victory against New Orleans with discomfort in his left hip, reserve guard Williams didn’t play against the Kings, his first missed game this season. Lue considered it as a “good sign” that Williams tested the hip during shootaround Friday morning before the decision was made to sit the 34-year-old guard.

“He’s a little sore, I think we will see him soon,” Lue said. “Just something we want to be cautious with, just to make sure it doesn’t linger on for the rest of the season. It is just something we want to be smart about.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.