Tue, 16 Aug 2022

Kings to visit Clippers as inconsistent teams square off

Field Level Media
01 Dec 2021, 17:40 GMT+10

Two teams looking to turn around disappointing seasons get together Wednesday night when the Sacramento Kings visit the Los Angeles Clippers in the opener of a four-day, two-game sequence.

The clubs, which haven't gone head-to-head yet this season, also will meet up in Sacramento on Saturday night.

The doubleheader will conclude a stretch in which the Kings are playing the Los Angeles teams four times in a five-game span. They split decisions against the Lakers over the last five days, winning a 141-137, three-overtime affair in Los Angeles before getting drubbed 117-92 at home in the rematch on Tuesday night.

Sacramento has lost two in a row since the marathon win, which took place where the Kings will attempt to steal another road win against the rival Clippers.

In fact, the Kings have had much more success against the Clippers at Staples Center in recent years, winning three of their last four visits, than at home, where Los Angeles has won 15 straight times.

One player who no doubt would like to see things improve over the previous Los Angeles visit is Kings forward Chimezie Metu, a Los Angeles native who had eight rebounds but shot just 1-for-5 for three points in last week's homecoming.

The fourth-year pro already has made more starts this season (eight) than in his first three seasons combined (six), including an eight-point, 11-rebound effort in a loss at Memphis on Sunday and a 14-point, 11-rebound outing in Tuesday's home rematch with the Lakers.

"He's definitely helped us," teammate De'Aaron Fox said this week. "He brings a lot. He brings versatility to us; he's a big guy that can move his feet offensively and defensively, crash the glass, block shots, shoot the ball ... so it's definitely a help for us, and it's great for us seeing him play with confidence."

Metu played 36 minutes in Tuesday's loss with three frontcourt teammates -- Marvin Bagley III, Harrison Barnes and Maurice Harkless -- out of action.

Metu has averaged 8.1 rebounds in his eight starts, and now gets an opportunity to go up against a Clippers team that watched two opponents (Jonas Valanciunas with 15 and Josh Hart with 12) record double-figure rebounds in its last game, a 123-104 home loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday.

"Every team, they're going to crash (the boards) against us," Clippers star Paul George said. "That's honestly our kryptonite. Every team goes toward that, sending guys to the glass. They just think they can do that and there's no penalty to it because we haven't been a great transition team once we get rebounds. We're just going to see that every night."

While the Kings have gone just 3-10 since a 5-4 start, the Clippers have followed a similar path, opening 8-4 before losing six of their last nine. Three of the six defeats have come within the first five outings on a six-game homestand that ends Wednesday.

George had 27 points in Monday's loss to the Pelicans. In the absence of sidekick Kawhi Leonard, he has poured in 20 or more points in 17 of the Clippers' 21 games.

George averaged 22.5 points in the Clippers' two wins over the Kings in three meetings last season.

--Field Level Media

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