The Los Angeles Clippers went into the Thanksgiving break with a little holiday cheer after snapping a nine-game losing streak with a 116-103 win at Atlanta on Wednesday. The Clippers will try to make it back-to-back wins for the first time since taking the first four games of the regular season when the road trip shifts back to the west coast for a visit to the Sacramento Kings on Saturday.
Blake Griffin is taking on added leadership responsibilities this season with the departure of Chris Paul over the summer and led by example with a triple-double in Wednesday’s triumph. Griffin, who averaged 22.6 points on 36.9 percent shooting during the nine-game slide, collected 26 points while going 9-of-19 from the floor and added 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his first triple-double of the campaign. The Kings are winners of four of their last five at home and went into their brief break with a 113-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at home on Wednesday. Sacramento is still searching for the right lineup combinations and got a strong boost from the reserves in Wednesday’s triumph.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), NBCS California (Sacramento)
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (6-11): Los Angeles learned before Wednesday’s contest that point guard Patrick Beverley would miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, and Wesley Johnson immediately stepped in to pick up some of the slack. Johnson exploded for a season-high 24 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including 6-of-7 from beyond the arc, and scored in double figures in three of the last four games after doing so once in the first 13 contests. Lou Williams and Austin Rivers held down the starting backcourt in the win and combined for 38 points and 13 assists.
ABOUT THE KINGS (5-13): Sacramento center Willie Cauley-Stein led four reserves in double figures with 26 points in 28 minutes on Wednesday. “I don’t think there’s any bigs in this league that can guard me off the bounce, so I’m quick enough where I can get past big dudes and strong enough when there’s a little guy on me I can just take him in the post,” Cauley-Stein told the Sacramento Bee. “I’m starting to find my package a little bit, I’m starting to get in my bag and I’ve got a few tricks to get fouls and try to get going a little bit more.” Cauley-Stein is averaging 13.9 points at home but just 7.2 in 10 road games.
1. Clippers SF Danilo Gallinari (left glute strain) is likely to miss his ninth straight game.
2. Kings PG Frank Mason III is 14-of-24 from the floor over the last three games.
3. Los Angeles took four of the last five meetings, including three at Sacramento.
PREDICTION: Kings 106, Clippers 103