Clippers vs. Kings NBA Picks: Is L.A.'s Defense Enough to Cover?

David Lawrence

Saturday, January 17, 2015 2:23 PM GMT

Can Los Angeles Clippers keep the momentum going in the right direction on Saturday night and cover the NBA betting spread in Sacramento against the Kings?

The Los Angeles Clippers Can Win Because…
There is new life in this team’s locker room after a very encouraging performance on Wednesday night in Portland against the Trail Blazers. Portland entered Wednesday night tied with Atlanta for the second-best record in the NBA at 30-8. The Blazers were NBA odds favored to beat the Clippers and keep the pressure on first-place Golden State in the West. However, the Clippers had other ideas. They defended extremely well against Portland, hounding the Blazers into 40-percent shooting from the field. The Clippers limited Portland to 23-percent shooting from three-point range. They also collected nine steals and held Blazer guard Damian Lillard to only 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting. The Clippers did something else that was impressive: in a 48-minute game, they committed only seven turnovers. That’s as good as you’re going to get for a full game at any point in the season. Chris Paul got to the foul line 10 times and made all 10 of his free throws. The 100-94 win was the kind of statement this team needed to make, as it tries to move from its current sixth spot in the West to a fourth or fifth seed as the season moves along.

The other thing that will help the Clippers is that they’re playing a struggling team with the wrong coach. It remains baffling that Sacramento fired Mike Malone and replaced him with Ty Corbin, who clearly failed as the head coach of the Utah Jazz. Sacramento is 4-6 in its last 10 games. The Kings came close against Dallas earlier in the week but fell short, and Corbin’s management of the final minutes played a part in that loss.

 

The Sacramento Kings Can Win Because…
They still have DeMarcus Cousins anchoring the team, with the kinds of performances that leave basketball analysts open-mouthed in amazement. Cousins scored 32 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, and handed out nine assists in the loss to Dallas on Tuesday night. He was a monster, and as long as he’s playing at that level, the Kings are going to be tough to beat. They are beatable, but it’s going to take a good effort to get past them.

What should also encourage the Kings is that they got solid performances from their supporting cast. Darren Collison scored 18 points, Carl Landry 14, and Derrick Williams 12. If the Kings can get three players to score in double figures alongside Cousins, they’re going to have the offensive balance which will force teams to not double-team Cousins in the low post. This will reshape the game in a way that helps Sacramento a lot.

 

Outlook
The Clippers’ win in Portland was an eye-opening result. It’s not what anyone was expecting. With the Clippers having gone 7-3 in their last 10 games, though, Los Angeles should be able to win this game based on its defense, which is holding opponents under 100 points per game. Sacramento allows 103.8 points per game, so the Clippers should be in good shape here. Take them with your NBA picks.

Free NBA Pick:  Los Angeles Clippers