Blake Griffin has dominated DeMarcus Cousins in their matchups, powering a season sweep by the Los Angeles Clippers last season.The power forwards meet for the first time this season Saturday night when Griffin and the Clippers try to drop Cousins' Kings to 0-6 on the road.Los Angeles (9-6) is 6-1 against Sacramento (4-11) over the last two seasons since Cousins came into the league. Griffin is averaging 20.6 points on 60.2 percent shooting to go with 12.0 rebounds per game in those meetings while Cousins is averaging 11.0 points, 9.0 boards and shooting 35.7 percent.Cousins' scoring average against the Clippers is his worst against any Western Conference foe. He grew so frustrated after fouling out in 18 minutes in a 93-85 home loss to Los Angeles on April 5 that he called Griffin an "actor." Two days later, Griffin had 27 points and 14 rebounds in a 109-94 home win over Sacramento.The Clippers went 3-0 against the Kings in 2011-12.While the duel inside could prove decisive, Los Angeles figures to have an advantage on the perimeter if Sacramento guard Tyreke Evans misses a second straight game.Evans sat out Friday due to a bruised left knee in a 97-92 home defeat to Indiana. He is averaging a career-low 14.9 points, but had netted 21.0 per game over his last five outings.His absence could make it easier for Chris Paul, who had 23 points and 11 assists in Wednesday's 101-95 home win over Minnesota. The Clippers ended a season-high four-game losing streak.The game marked the season debut for Chauncey Billups, who started and had seven points and three assists in 19 minutes in his first action since Feb. 6 after recovering from a torn left Achilles tendon."Now that I'm back, I look forward to regaining my old form," he told the Clippers' official website. "And I'm going to be very patient with that. Just me being back is a success and a blessing, so I'm going to be happy with that until everything else kind of comes around."Clippers leading scorer Jamal Crawford is only averaging 11.5 points on 32.5 percent shooting in his last four games."I find myself in the corner just waiting on the action, when I have to go make the action happen," Crawford said. "That's who I am and that's what I'll get back to doing.Griffin had 18 points and six boards Wednesday as he bounced back from a season-low, four-point effort two nights earlier against New Orleans.Cousins, meanwhile, had 19 points and 16 rebounds Friday for his first double-double in six games. The big man, however, struggled to make 5 of 17 shots, and is shooting 42.0 percent on the season."Yes, he forced too many shots tonight," Kings coach Keith Smart said of Cousins. "He needs to start taking those shots that are available."The Kings are one game worse than their record after 15 games last season and enduring their worst road start since going 0-9 to begin 2007-08."I just knew our team could be better and much further along than where we are right now," Smart said. "I am very disappointed."
The Sacramento Kings make the 90 mile commute to Oakland for a match up against the first place Golden State Warriors Friday evening. The Kings have lost three straight and are just 2-11 over their previous 13 games as they transition to a youth movement.
Buddy Hield tied his career-high with 21 points versus the Milwaukee Bucks last time out. He’ll face a different beast against the Warriors. Klay Thompson is one of the best two-way shooting guards in the league. He can light you up from long range and shut you down with physical play on the other side of the ball.
Matt Barnes joined the W’s after being waived by the Kings during the All-Star break. The 37-year-old forward has played nearly 20 minutes per night for Golden State, averaging 5.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 11 games.
Warriors by 17.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Buddy Hield vs. Klay Thompson -- Hield is averaging 14.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 27.6 minutes over 14 games with the Kings. The rookie shooting guard is shooting 50 percent from the field, 44.9 percent from 3-point range and posted double-figure scoring in all but two games since coming over via trade during the All-Star break. Thompson is one of the premiere player at his position, posting 22.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. The Kings have been on the receiving end of plenty of his scoring outbursts over the years.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 27-44 third place in Pacific
Warriors: 57-14, first place in Pacific
Kings: SG Malachi Richardson (torn hamstring) status unknown at this time, F Rudy Gay (torn left Achilles) out for season. Darren Collison, Tyreke Evans and Anthony Tolliver are all out for planned rest.
Warriors: SF Kevin Durant (tibial bruise, knee) out.
The Warriors lead the season series at 2-1 with a 109-86 victory at Oracle Arena. Golden State holds a 199-186 lead over the Kings all-time and a 71-65 advantage during the Sacramento-era.
“I’m trying to kill ‘em, plain and simple. Things didn’t go well there. They’re the enemy now, so we’re trying to kill ‘em - beat them by 50.” -Matt Barnes on his approach against his former team
Sacramento Kings point guard Ty Lawson spent time in a Colorado courtroom Thursday to face allegations of potential probation violations. Lawson was granted a six-week stay in case and will reappear in court on May 4, CSN California has learned through a league source.
According to Jesse Paul of the Denver Post, Lawson, through his attorney Harvey Steinberg, entered a denial of probation violations. Lawson tested positive for alcohol three times in the past year, according to published reports. If true, it would be a violation of his probation.
Lawson’s legal troubles stem from a 2015 DUI arrest in Denver. The eight-year NBA veteran signed a one-year deal with the Kings on Aug. 31, 2016. Through 63 games, including 21 starts, the 29-year-old guard has posted averages of 9.2 points and 4.7 assists in 25.1 minutes per game.
He sat out Wednesday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks for “planned rest.” Lawson is expected back in a Kings uniform Friday night when they take on the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.