Los Angeles Clippers at Sacramento Kings
Sleep Train Arena
November 1, 2013
7:00 p.m. PST
FOX Prime Ticket
The Clippers bounced back nicely from an opening-night loss to the Lakers. We might worry about the defense, but it looks like the offense is well spoken for after putting up 126 points against Golden State Thursday night. Now, onto 3-on-3:
1. Are we going to see Chris Paul be as assertive as he was against the Warriors all season?
Jovan Buha, (@jovanbuha): No. That was the most assertive Paul has ever been in a Clippers uniform, and he’s unlikely to replicate that type of performance on the second night of a back-to-back. Last night was a real treat – Paul put up a historic stat line and arguably had his best game ever (when factoring the challenge of defending Curry, too) – and we’ll remember it for a long time.
Davis Vo, (@davisv_): Being assertive is going to be tricky to quantify: will it be shot attempts, points, or some subjective interpretation of his actions on the court? In general, being assertive is a process, and for Paul, it seems to be a point of emphasis this season. From a statistical standpoint, we can’t expect 42 point and 15 assists every game, but if we’re counting pre-season games, it is promising that Paul has already logged two 40-point games.
Dylan Rice-Leary, (@dylearium): 42 points shooting 12 of 20, 15 assists, six steals- last night, CP3 was historically good. I certainly don’t expect to see that every night. But I do expect to see Doc Rivers look to get more out of this already phenomenal point-guard. Last night was leadership-in-action by both Chris and Doc. This player-coach dynamic could be one of the more fascinating storylines of the year for the Clippers.
2. Was DeMarcus Cousins worth his contract extension?
Buha: Yes. There’s no questioning his talent. He has a legitimate chance to average 22+ points and 11+ rebounds a night, which only Dwight Howard could match. Cousins is still a below-average defender – a legitimate issue – but he looks like he’ll break out as a franchise player this season.
Vo: High potential, quality big men typically come at what is perceived by a hefty price tag, but the reality is that the market pays big for bigs. I liken Cousins’ contract extension to that his former Kentucky teammate, John Wall (80 million/five years). These teams are paying not for what they have already produced, but what they are projected to produce as they get better over the next few years. Cousins dominated the Nuggets in the fourth quarter on Wednesday — so far so good.
Rice-Leary: Probably. Even though new ownership is more than showing a willingness to spend on the team, it’s not like there is a huge line of marquee names waiting to sign with Sacramento right now. With new ownership, revitalized fanatical fan base, commitment from the organization, what’s for Boogie not to love? Besides, the potential continued feel-good narrative for this against-all-odds-still-in-
3. Who wins this? Clips or Kings?
Buha: Clips. I think they may struggle out of the gate, especially defending Cousins, but they can’t afford to start the season off 1-2. It’ll be tight down the stretch, but Paul is best closer on either side. The Clips were gifted three easy-ish games to start (two lottery teams, one playoff team at home), and they have to capitalize on that.
Vo: Clippers. The Kings look rejuvenated in the post-Maloof era, but it’s hard to bet against the superior talent on the Clippers team even if it is an away game on a back-to-back. Matchup-wise, the Clippers backcourt is salivating against this Kings roster and they’ll still be running high off of last night’s victory against the Warriors.
Rice-Leary: Kings’ home games have some powerful fan mojo right now, and for L.A., this roadgame is on the 2nd night of a back-to-back. I am going to say CP3’s inspiring performance last-night is taken as a challenge to step-up by the rest of the team which leads to a Clipper win, but defense is going to be key for Los Angeles. Young and athletic, Sacramento is a team capable of scoring bursts, especially at home. This should be a great test for both teams.