Kings vs. Clippers NBA Pick
The new-look Los Angeles Clippers try to end their two-game losing streak when they host the Sacramento Kings on Saturday afternoon. The Clippers will be without Paul George and Patrick Beverley and the Kings just beat the Grizzlies 129-125 on Thursday. What’s the right NBA pick?
Sacramento Kings (22-33) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (37-18)
Saturday, February 22 at 3:30 PM ET, STAPLES Center
Kings Shock Grizzlies
Harrison Barnes had a season-high 32 points and matched his career-high with seven 3-pointers and De’Aaron Fox finished with 26 points as the Kings beat the Grizzlies 129-125 in Sacramento on Thursday. Buddy Hield also stepped up with 20 points off the bench. The Kings were outrebounded 51 to 27 and missed 10 free-throws but were 19-for-39 (48.7 percent) from beyond the arc.
The Grizzlies just couldn’t stop the Kings from distance but the Clippers defend the 3-point line much better than them, as they rank 7th in the NBA, allowing opponents to shoot 34.5 percent from beyond the arc. The Clippers are 3rd in the league averaging 48.2 rebounds per game and the Kings will have a hard time winning the battle of the boards against them.
The Kings can’t win this game if they get outrebounded and miss 10 free-throws like they did against the Grizzlies and as I just mentioned, hitting 3-point shots against the Clippers won’t be so easy. Keep in mind that the Grizzlies rank 26th in the league in 3-point defense, allowing opponents to make 37.1 percent of their attempts.
Clippers Add Reggie Jackson
Reggie Jackson will make his Clippers debut against the Kings after being bought out of his contract with the Pistons. Jackson averaged 14.9 points, 5.1 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 27.2 minutes over 14 games with the Pistons this season. He’s shooting 38.4 percent from the field, 37.4 percent from 3-point range and 78.8 percent from the free-throw line.
“Jackson gives the Clippers second unit a starting-level playmaker and scorer. Lakers had hoped to sign Jackson too, sources said. Clippers emerge from the buyout market with the most talented player available that had been available to contenders,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said.
Reggie Jackson’s 3-point shot has shown improvement as of late. He has made 37.8 percent of his attempts in 14 games and he shot 36.9 percent from 3-point range in 82 games last year. If he can maintain that level of efficiency, this could end up being a steal for the Clippers. He can be a capable replacement for Lou Williams when he is hurt and/or in foul trouble and serve as the primary ball-handler, even if Patrick Beverley is playing. Jackson might be in the starting lineup against the Kings.
The Clippers didn’t need to add anyone but he will provide another spark off the bench in the playoffs and they kept him away from the Lakers, who were also after him. He is close friends with Paul George and he has wanted to play with him for a long time so that also helps the chemistry and Jackson’s potential fit. The 29-year-old averages of 12.9 points, 4.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 25.3 minutes over 544 games with the Thunder and Pistons and he will become an unrestricted free agent after this season ends.
Paul George (plus-2.7 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) and Patrick Beverley (plus-2.9 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) practiced in full for the Clippers on Thursday and Friday but will not play on Saturday. George injured his left hamstring for a third time this season in the first half of a 141-133 double overtime loss against the Celtics on February 13. This same injury has kept PG13 out of 10 games this season, including nine straight in January. Beverley participated in the NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge and he will miss his fifth straight game with a groin injury.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has had a full roster available for only four games this season. The Clippers, along with the Pistons and Warriors have used an NBA-high 27 different starting lineups entering the All-Star break. It might be 28 after this Saturday but it won’t matter. They will miss George and Beverley but they have a deep roster and this is a must-win game for them. They will show up at home and end their losing streak.