When the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers met seven days ago, points were racked up at a pinball-fast pace in the second-highest scoring game in NBA history.
Combining for 351 points again is certainly unlikely when the host Kings and Clippers square off again Friday night in the California capital.
Seldom has there been a game like the one on Feb. 24 in which the Kings notched a 176-175 double-overtime victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles.
The only higher-scoring game was the 370 combined points that occurred on Dec. 13, 1983, when the Detroit Pistons edged the Denver Nuggets 186-184 in triple overtime.
Sacramento’s Malik Monk scored a career-high 45 points and De’Aaron Fox added 42 points, 12 assists and five steals. Los Angeles got a season-best 44 points from Kawhi Leonard, while Paul George added 34.
Leonard said Thursday that he won’t be playing in the rematch on the second night of a back-to-back.
The upstart Kings are in third place in the Western Conference, while Los Angeles resides in seventh after being drubbed 115-91 by the Golden State Warriors on Thursday in San Francisco. The setback was the fourth in a row for the Clippers.
Of course, with the West packed tightly — the 13th-place team is just 5 1/2 games behind the fourth-place team — every game holds its own importance no matter how many points might be scored.
“We look at every game up until the postseason as a dress rehearsal,” Kings forward Harrison Barnes said of facing the Clippers. “For us, it’s a great challenge to get better and compete against a great team and see how we stack up.”
Sacramento will be more rested for the rematch as it last played on Tuesday, while Los Angeles blew an 11-point halftime lead and was outscored 70-35 in the second half on Thursday against Golden State.
Leonard scored 21 points vs. the Warriors but George had just 11 on 3-of-15 shooting. George said he expects to play Friday night but would reassess the situation in the morning.
Clippers forward Norman Powell was seen after the game with his left arm in a sling. There was no immediate word on his status or the severity of the injury.
Powell scored two points on 1-of-9 shooting in 21 minutes against Golden State.
Russell Westbrook managed just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, and the Clippers have yet to win in four games with him on the court.
In the eyes of Los Angeles coach Tyronn Lue, there is plenty of disappointment to go around.
“We just got to stay the course, got to be mentally tough, mentally strong,” Lue said after the latest loss. “Can’t give in, just got to be tougher.”
Sacramento has won four straight games and seven of nine after posting back-to-back road victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Kings won 124-115 on Sunday and 123-117 on Tuesday. Fox scored 33 points in the first victory and sat out the latter due to left wrist soreness.
Fox was a full practice participant on Thursday and was listed as questionable. Big man Richaun Holmes (non-COVID illness) also was considered questionable.
In the Tuesday game, Barnes scored 29 points, Domantas Sabonis racked up 22 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists and Kevin Huerter tallied 20 points.
Sacramento went 3-0 on a road trip that began with the crazy game in Los Angeles.
“Our guys, they came with a little bit of an edge and they played greedy,” Kings coach Mike Brown said after the Tuesday win. “And that’s what excites me about this team is, knowing what’s at stake, still coming and performing the way that they did and getting the win and finishing this trip off the right way gets me really excited about the group.”
–Field Level Media