While each looks to snap a six-game skid, the Clippers also hope to avoid being swept in the season series Friday night when they meet at Staples Center.
About the only thing these teams have left to play for is not to finish last in the Western Conference. Los Angeles (18-60) is two games ahead of Sacramento in the race to avoid that dubious distinction and each have four games remaining.
While the Clippers are in position to avoid finishing with the league’s worst record, they’ll need to snap a four-game losing streak versus the Kings (16-62) to be certain.
Sacramento is 3-0 this season versus the Clippers, which included a 103-98 win at Los Angeles on Nov. 12. The Kings won 98-86 at home on Feb. 27 in the teams’ most recent meeting.
Averaging a career-high 24.6 points, Kevin Martin had 20 in each of the last two games against Los Angeles, but could miss his fifth straight contest with a sore ankle.
Even without Martin, the Kings could be in good shape to extend their winning streak over the Clippers, who are expected to again be missing inside players Zach Randolph, Al Thornton and Marcus Camby.
Randolph, who’s averaging a team-leading 21.1 points, will serve the second of his two-game team suspension after he was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving. Thornton (16.8 ppg) could miss the rest of the season with a sprained right shoulder and Camby is uncertain with a hamstring injury.
Without them and forward Chris Kaman, who could return Friday from a bout with the flu, Los Angeles allowed 46 points in the paint and was outrebounded 62-34 in an 87-77 home loss to Minnesota on Tuesday.
Eric Gordon had 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting for the Clippers, who dropped to 10-28 at home.
A contender for NBA rookie of the year, Gordon is averaging 15.9 points overall and 21.0 in his last four contests.
“Eric helped us hold on in the game. But the poundings we took under the boards were just impossible to overcome,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said of the last contest.
A bruised shoulder kept Gordon out of the last meeting with the Kings, but he scored 24 in a 92-90 loss at Sacramento on Dec. 30.
Hawes, a second-year forward, is averaging 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in his last four games for Sacramento, which is 5-33 on the road and on track for its worst finish in franchise history.