Clippers’ young unit bounces back but Kings win

Clippers' young unit bounces back but Kings win

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George’s participation in practice on Friday wasn’t exactly a precursor to the return of injured stars.

It only continued the stagnation surrounding their eventual return, with the All-Star pair watching from the bench in street clothes while their Clippers teammates were overwhelmed in a 123-96 loss Saturday afternoon at the Arena.

Backup guard Norman Powell, on a scoring tear for three weeks before injuring his groin on Tuesday in Portland, sat out the second game in a row. As the Kings’ lead grew to 28 points before halftime, Powell rested his chin on his right hand, his expression conveying a sense of defeat.

The closest the Clippers came to breathing life into the arena was when a young lineup pulled within 16 points with 10 minutes to play.

The Kings then scored nine consecutive points to restore order.

Brandon Boston Jr. scored a team-high 18 points, with Ivica Zubac contributing 13 points and 15 rebounds, but the Clippers shot an anemic 35% on Saturday.

The day before, coach Tyronn Lue said the team would wait to see how their injured stars feel after practice before making a determination on their availability. Leonard was “feeling good” after the workout, the coach said – yet missed his sixth consecutive game. A four-game road trip starting Monday in Charlotte will be Leonard’s sixth game this season, his next opportunity to appear.

“We’ll have him back real soon,” Lue said. “He’s going on a trip, so it’s positive.”

With more than a quarter of the way through the season, the Clippers’ championship ambitions are still possible after a 13-11 start. The example set by Boston last season in the finals — only 20-21 last January before a pulverizing defensive turnaround — and Golden State — which was bogged down in defensive issues until late March — pushed itself to a contender. Patience should be exercised before writing. Backed by a deep bench and deep pockets.

Yet it will take more time for the Clippers to reach the form expected of themselves during the preseason than to fully rectify their core issues of reducing turnovers, making more free throws and narrowing their shot differential. The Clippers are outscoring opponents by 38 points in George and Leonard’s minutes this season — a total that only reaches 65 minutes.

For context, Phoenix has reached a West-leading 15-7 record behind Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges’ 687 minutes together. And it’s no coincidence that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have spent 530 minutes together amid Boston’s league-best 18-5 start.

Sacramento (12-9), a franchise mocked during its 16-season playoff drought, has become a trendy team to watch in coach Mike Brown’s first season. After a win this season the Kings have installed a laser light above their home arena that can be seen for miles – a practice that has taken on cult status, even leading a section of fans to chant “Light the beam! ” In the final minutes of Saturday’s blast.

For their own part, the Clippers can begin to light a prayer candle in the hope that their roster can come back in full.

Sometimes doing so on Saturday while hobbling over what the Clippers were playing. Point guard Reggie Jackson, who was feeling cramps after falling hard Tuesday in Portland, fell again two minutes into the first quarter against Sacramento while attempting to center Ivica Zubac. The ball and Jackson went out of bounds and only Wilson’s model sprung up.

The point guard worked on the court for several possessions before briefly heading to the locker room. Jackson acknowledged hearing his name raised by a fan at the end of the first quarter. He was not ruled out, however, and played 23 minutes despite rarely appearing to play without trouble.

Jackson would make one of 12 shots and finish with zero assists. Forward Marcus Morris Sr. made two of 11 shots. One of the few reliable offensive options all season after entering training camp healthy, Morris has had a rough skid shooting, making 26% of his shots last week, including five of his 21 three-pointers. .

In a move Lue had hinted at the day before, rookie Moussa Diabet continued to receive more minutes, this time as backup to Zubac, a role once played by Moses Brown. Diabet entered the first quarter and ended up playing 18 minutes, scoring four points and five rebounds.

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Charles writes for the Headline column of the website. He has done major in English, and a having a diploma in Journalism. He has worked for more than 1.5 years in a media house. Now, he joined our team as a contributor for covering the latest US headlines. He is smart both by him looks and nature. He is very good with everyone in the team.