NBA -- Kings test streaking L.A. Clippers
By Alberto G. Montefalcon, Jr.
Sat, 22 Dec 2012
SACRAMENTO -- Fresh from their 131-127 victory over the scalding-hot Golden State Warriors two nights ago, the Sacramento Kings aim for their second consecutive win in a trying season marred by inconsistent play.
Beating shooting star Stephen Curry and the 17-9 Warriors proved to be an uphill climb for the Kings, but pulling an upset over the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in downtown L.A will be an extremely more difficult task.
Led by the high-leaping Blake Griffin, ultra-efficient point guard Chris Paul and a bench as deep as any in the NBA, the Clippers are on top of the Pacific Division with a 19-6 won-lost slate. Under coach Vinny Del Negro's steady hands, the Clippers are riding the crest of an 11-game winning streak.
For the Kings to leave L.A. with a W, they will need a solid effort from 6-foot 11, 270-pound DeMarcus Cousins, who leads the team with 16.9 points and and 9.7 rebounds a game. It would'nt hurt, either, if Tyreke Evans, who norms 15.1 points per, will wreak havoc on the vaunted Clippers defense that surrenders only a mere 92.4 points an outing.
A season that opened with so much optimism quickly went sour when the Kings dropped seven of their first nine games, including five bad losses in a row. They have since been playing cacth-up and are currently second to the last in the entire Western Conference, just slightly ahead of the 5-20 New Orleans Hornets.
If the NBA playoffs were to start today, the Kings will be watching it unfold at home. But it's still a long way between now and April, and head coach Keith Smart and his Kings hope that a big win over the soaring Clippers will be the first of many steps needed to right their ship. (AGM, JR)
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