They’ll try to halt a nine-game losing streak against their Pacific Division rivals when they welcome the struggling Kings to the Staples Center.
Los Angeles is tied with Phoenix for first place in the Pacific Division. However, the Clippers have struggled over the years against Sacramento—which entered this season off five straight 50-plus win campaigns.
The Kings, perennial contenders in the Pacific, are in last place this season and this may be the Clippers’ best chance to finally beat them. Los Angeles’ last win in the series was a 112-107 victory on January 18, 2003.
Sacramento has won 14 of its last 15 overall against Los Angeles. Last season, the Kings won all four meetings, but only by a combined 15 points.
Clippers guard Cuttino Mobley will play his first game against the team he averaged 17.8 points in 43 games for last season after being traded from Orlando to Sacramento on Jan. 10. Mobley signed as a free agent with Los Angeles in August.
Mobley was a key factor in Sacramento’s success against Los Angeles last season, averaging 19.3 points in the four wins.
Elton Brand had 38 points and 20 rebounds and Chris Kaman added 22 and 22 as the Clippers beat Charlotte 97-88 on Friday. The duo became the first teammates go for 30/20 and 20/20 in the same game since Willis Reed and Dave DeBusschere did it in 1970 with the New York Knicks.
“They were missing some legs and we took it to them, just worked them over inside and out,” Brand said. “They were undersized, but we don’t feel sorry for anyone.”
Brand averaged 20.3 points and 8.5 rebounds against Sacramento last season.
The Kings have dropped five straight for the second time this season after a 105-92 loss to Portland on Monday. It’s the first time since 1997-98 that Sacramento has had at least two five-game losing streaks in the same season.
One of the few bright spots in the loss was the return of Peja Stojakovic, who missed one game due to a protruding disc in his lower back. Stojakovic made 7-of-12 shots for 19 points.
The Kings allowed the Trail Blazers to shoot just under 54 percent Monday, marking the third time during the losing streak that an opponent has shot at least 50 percent.
STANDINGS (through Dec. 26): Kings - 5th place, 6 1/2 GB, Pacific Division. Clippers - 1st place (tied), Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Kings - Bibby, 18.7 ppg; Miller, 7.8 rpg and 5.9 apg. Clippers - Brand, 25.5 ppg and 11 rpg; Cassell, 7 apg.
2004-05 SEASON SERIES: Kings, 4-0.
LAST MEETING: March 19; Kings, 111-107 (OT). At Los Angeles, Mobley and Stojakovic each scored 24 points as Sacramento rallied from a 12-point deficit early in the fourth quarter.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Kings - 3-8 on the road; Clippers - 10-2 at home.