After winning seven-straight games, the Clippers have now dropped seven of their last ten. This skid has been plagued by injuries, but there are underlying issues for the Clippers that transcend injuries. The team's offensive struggles have persisted all season, and this game against the Kings was no exception.
With Paul George out for rest, joining Kawhi Leonard and Nicolas Batum as a spectator, the Clippers were always unlikely to secure a win. With that being said, everyone involved likely expected a better fight than the one that was put up. With key rotation players like Marcus Morris, Terance Mann, Luke Kennard, and Reggie Jackson available, there were still potential outlets for offense that the Clippers expected production from. While they got it from Mann and Kennard, the two starters Jackson and Morris were simply not good enough.
Luke Kennard and Terance Mann combined for 38 points on 15/25 shooting off the bench, but Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson gave the Clippers just a combined 14 points on 6/26 shooting. With this lack of production from the starting lineup, already down the team's three most important players, a win was never probable.
While the offense struggled, this was by far the Clippers' worst defensive performance of the season. The Clippers surrendered 124 total points to the Kings in this game, which is the most they have allowed in a game all season. Again, it is important to note that they were without their wing trio of Leonard, George, and Batum; however, they were unable to string together any defensive competence without them.
The Clippers did make a bit of a run in the 4th quarter, and it was sparked by their bench. Isaiah Hartenstein played some solid minutes, finishing with 11 points and 8 rebounds in 17 minutes. The comeback effort was unfortunately too little and too late, but it was encouraging to see the bench show some fight.
Down so many rotation players, the Clippers were forced to rely on rookie Brandon Boston Jr. in this game. The 20-year-old finished with 13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a steal in 24 minutes off the bench. He continues to outplay his draft position, after going 51st overall this past summer.
While there are a lot of negatives to harp on for the Clippers, the Kings deserve credit for the performance they put up on the last half of a back to back. Davion Mitchell led the way off the bench, putting up 20 points on 7/10 shooting. The Kings had six players score in double figures, including 23 points from Terence Davis and 24 from De'Aaron Fox. The 124 points the Kings scored is the 4th most they have put up in a regulation game this season.
The Clippers, now 11-11, will face the Lakers on Friday before hitting the road for a two-game trip.