Los Angeles Clippers vs. Sacramento Kings Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 12th 2023

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With their offense finally in high gear, the Los Angeles Clippers will take a season-best, four-game winning streak into their second matchup in two weeks against the visiting Sacramento Kings.

Both teams are playing on the second night of a back-to-back set. The Clippers are staying home after a 132-127 victory Monday against the Portland Trail Blazers, while the Kings rolled to a 131-118 home victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

The Monday point total was a season high for the Clippers, who just edged the previous high output they produced in a 131-117 win at Sacramento on Nov. 29.

Los Angeles shot 53.8 percent from the field in the first meeting against the Kings, its best of the campaign until topping that on Monday by shooting 55.1 percent against the Blazers.

The win at Sacramento last month started Los Angeles’ current stretch of five victories in six games, which is part of a 9-3 surge dating back to Nov. 17. The Clippers were on a six-game losing streak, five with James Harden in the fold, before finding some cohesion.

In the Clippers’ latest victory, Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points while Harden and Paul George each scored 20. Russell Westbrook added 12 points for Los Angeles.

Much was made about how the Clippers would incorporate four outstanding scorers into one offense. Instead, the team has found success by looking much as it did before Harden arrived, with Leonard and George powering the offense.

“James has made it easier for PG and Kawhi, and then they all three have to make it easy on each other,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “James benefited in the third quarter by getting a couple of wide-open threes because of Kawhi getting doubled-teamed or PG getting to the paint. They’re starting to find out how to do that.”

Though Harden has averaged a mere 16 points as a member of the Clippers, the ball essentially goes through him on offense. And in a unique look devised by Lue, Harden often operates with the second unit after an early run with the starters.

The Kings have been on an up-and-down ride since a six-game winning streak last month, but they looked as good as they have all season against the Nets. Sacramento is now 5-4 since that winning streak ended.

De’Aaron Fox scored 29 points against Brooklyn, Keegan Murray had 24 and Malik Monk added 21. Sacramento sank a franchise-record 25 3-pointers, on 45 attempts, and also had a season-high 38 assists.

“I tell our team we need to play fast, we need to play physical and let’s continue playing together in the right way,” Kings coach Mike Brown said. “Thirty-eight assists. That speaks volumes on how connected the group is and how the group is trying to play the right way.”

Domantas Sabonis had nine of Sacramento’s assists as he just missed a triple-double, logging 15 points and 16 rebounds. Monk also had nine assists, while Fox had eight. Murray was 4 of 4 from 3-point range, Fox was 5 of 10, Monk was 4 of 7 and Trey Lyles was 5 of 6 while scoring 17 points.

–Field Level Media

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