Kings hope to break through at home against Clippers
The Clippers will be playing the second night of a back-to-back, having rather easily disposed of the Phoenix Suns 115-99 at home on Wednesday night.
Harris, the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, led the way with his second consecutive double-double, contributing 18 points and 10 rebounds to the win.
Harris has scored 18 or more points in five of his last six games, averaging 24.0 points during the hot run.
Sacramento could use any advantage available in the clubs’ first meeting of the 2018-19 season given the history of the matchup.
The Clippers swept last year’s four-game season series, winning 97-95 and 121-115 in Sacramento to extend a road winning streak against the Kings that dates back to March of 2013.
None of the 11 wins has been a blowout, with the largest margin of victory coming in the Clippers’ 116-105 triumph in March of 2015.
The Clippers took advantage of a team in transition at the point guard position when they swept two early-season games at Sacramento last season.
Still sharing time with veteran George Hill, Kings rookie De’Aaron Fox managed only four and eight points in the two home losses, shooting a combined 5 of 19.
The No. 5 overall pick of the 2017 draft gave the Clippers a glimpse of what was to come when he recorded a 17-point, 10-assist double-double in the teams’ final head-to-head in Los Angeles, and even that was less than what Fox has brought this season as the unquestioned leader of the team.
“He’s done a great job of taking it to the next level,” Kings coach Dave Joerger told reporters recently. “Who knows where he can go or how good he can be, but he’s given himself every chance by working really hard.”
Fox, who is averaging 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds this season, has recorded five double-doubles in 20 games this season, and he had a triple-double with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists in Atlanta earlier this month.
The Clippers got to experience a young star in the making in Wednesday’s win over the Suns. They held their own against Phoenix dynamo Devin Booker, who scored 23 points, but was harassed into 1-for-6 shooting on 3-pointers.
If there’s a potential issue for the Clippers in Sacramento, it’s overconfidence.
After all, the 14-6 team is in first place in the Pacific, percentage points ahead of the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, and about to enter a building in which they haven’t lost in 5 1/2 years.
“We showed after the last 15-20 games that we can be a very good team,” veteran center Marcin Gortat said earlier this week. “But we can’t forget there’s 60 more to go. Let’s not get excited.”
The Clippers have won eight of nine.