Los Angeles Clippers vs. Sacramento Kings
Sleep Train Arena
7:00 p.m. PST
March 18, 2015
FOX Prime Ticket
Video of the Day
Now he’s starting again, it’s time to “ball”.
1. How has George Karl’s style worked in Sacramento so far?
James Ham, Cowbell Kingdom, (@James_Ham): It’s a work in progress. Karl has never had a big man quite like DeMarcus Cousins and the two are still working things out. It takes time to integrate players into a new system, especially ones that have been through the what the Kings players have been through this season. Karl is working on an extended training camp knowing that half of these players won’t be in a Kings uniform next season.
Law Murray, (@LawMurrayTheNU): It hasn’t been pretty. The Kings are running a lot more, with only Houston (James Harden) and Oklahoma City (Russell Westbrook) playing at a faster pace after the All-Star Break. The Kings don’t even have Darren Collison, as Ray McCallum has been the starting point guard for Karl’s 4-10 Kings. Things will have to be different next season, as the Kings have allowed the most points in the league since Karl took over (109.9 points per game allowed).
Roscoe Whalan, (@RoscoeWhalan7): The Kings are 4-10 since Karl arrived but I don’t think the immediate expectations were that high. It’s a trial run in many respects to see how Karl’s style fits with the current roster. Obviously the biggest concern is getting Karl to maximise Cousins’ skill set without forfeiting his frenetic pace.
2. If you’re starting a franchise from scrap who would you take first: DeMarcus Cousins or Blake Griffin?
Hamm: Griffin has made huge strides, but Cousins is on his way to becoming one of the top five players in the NBA. Griffin plays an exciting brand of basketball and he has matured into a perennial All-Star. Cousins hasn’t inured out a way to propel his team into the playoffs, but he has MVP potential. If you gave Cousins the best pure point guard in the NBA, a defensive stopper to play alongside on the frontline and a handful of shooters, he would be vying for a ring.
Murray: I’d have to go with Griffin, but it’s close. I’m a fan of Boogie’s game – he’s a dominant post presence who cares about competing. Griffin and Cousins have about the same level of durability concerns (remember, Griffin missed all of his rookie season after knee surgery), they both pick up way too many techs (Cousins and Griffin are one and two in the NBA for most techincals since 2010), and they both get picked on defensively. I just feel like Griffin plays a bit cleaner of a game offensively. Boogie leaves some stretches of bad tape out there when it comes to shot selection and turnovers.
Whalan: Cousins. Watching Blake develop from the guy-who-jumps-over-cars to an all-around scorer has been fun but maybe this is it now? Boogie is still a tantalising prospect who’s been through hell in Sacramento. He’s quelled some of his attitude and put up some amazing numbers with a pretty subpar supporting cast. Can you imagine what Cousins could do next to an elite point guard?
3. How troublesome is Jamal Crawford’s injury for the Clippers?
Hamm: Losing Crawford is huge. The Clippers bench hasn’t played up to their potential all year and losing one of the best sixth men in the league is going to hurt come playoff time. Nate Robinson can take on some of the scoring load off the bench, but Crawford is elite. When he’s on, he is one of the toughest covers in the league.
Murray: It’s a pain, but the Clippers can’t be too surprised. It bears repeating: Jamal Crawford turns 35 years old tomorrow. He’s in his 15th NBA season. The only player who has scored more points off the bench this season is Lou Williams, and Lou’s average is lower. Crawford’s return to the lineup is more important, but the Clippers are going to struggle as Nate Robinson attempts to get into pre-ACL tear form and Austin Rivers attempts to play consistent, fundamentally sound, productive basketball at the pro level.
Whalan: Very. The Clippers are fortunate to have a relatively soft schedule at the moment but when you’ve arrived at the point in the season where Hedo Turkoglu is starting games you know the second unit is getting pretty thin.