When the Los Angeles Clippers play the Sacramento Kings at home on Friday for the first time since the All-Star break, all eyes will be on their extensive roster experiment.
The Clippers added another significant player this week when they signed nine-time All-Star Russell Westbrook following his abrupt departure from the Los Angeles Lakers. The Clippers had already made a number of deals before the NBA trade deadline.
At the last minute, Westbrook was traded to the Jazz from the Lakers and released in a contract buyout in Utah. Following the departures of Marcus Morris Sr. and Paul George, Westbrook joined the Clippers. made an open request for his inclusion.
The Clippers, who started the season with hopes of making the NBA Finals, have had a difficult season, with George and Kawhi Leonard having to overcome injuries. Now that they are both healthy, they must combine their skills with the mysterious Westbrook.
The Clippers are currently tied with Sacramento for fourth place in the Western Conference with a record of 33-28.
The Kings are a good example of how a team can succeed after changing its roster. At the trade deadline last year, Sacramento sent Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Domantas Sabonis. This year, Sacramento did not make a significant move.
Sabonis returned to the All-Star Game this season, averaging 18.8 points and a NBA-best 12.4 rebounds. Haliburton’s All-Star performance for the Pacers was a refreshing sign that the trade worked out well for both teams.
The Kings defeated the visiting Portland Trail Blazers by a score of 133 to 116 on Thursday, the first night of a back-to-back, to begin the post-All-Star schedule in third place in the Western Conference. De’Aaron Fox scored 31 points, while Sabonis had a triple-double of 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Malik Monk returned to the Sacramento Kings for the break and scored 15 points in 21 minutes after missing two games with an ankle injury.
The Kings are 7-7 since going on a six-game winning streak in January.
Over the course of eight days, the Clippers and Kings will play each other twice; On March 3, they meet once more in Sacramento. This season, they split their previous two meetings.
Leonard did not play for the Clippers in either of the Clippers’ previous two games against the Kings, and George was also injured when Sacramento won on Dec. 3.