The Clippers try to win consecutive games for the first time in more than nine months Thanksgiving night when they host the Kings, who have dropped eight of nine following their best start in seven years.
Off to its worst start since tying a then-league record 0-17 beginning in 1998-99, Los Angeles (2-13) has some reason for optimism after snapping a nine-game skid with a 99-95 victory over New Orleans on Monday.
Eric Gordon(notes) scored 27 points and rookie Blake Griffin(notes) posted his eighth double-double with 24 and 13 rebounds as the Clippers won for the first time since beating Oklahoma City 107-92 on Nov. 3.
“We won this game against a good team, so that makes it even better,” Gordon, scoring a career-best 23.6 points per game, said Monday. “The chemistry is getting a little better, and we’re moving the ball a little bit better. That’s giving us a good feel for the game, and guys are knocking down shots.”
While the Clippers are shooting 52.6 percent from the field in the last two games, the Kings (4-9) are far off that pace, hitting 37.2 percent in their last two. Sacramento missed 11 of 16 3-point attempts and shot a season-low 35.8 percent (29 of 81) in Monday’s 94-83 loss at Utah.
“We had some players playing defense tonight that will give us a chance to build something good with this team - when we start making shots, we’ll have some wins to show for it,” said coach Paul Westphal, whose team has held its last three opponents to an average of 83.3 points and 40.3 percent shooting.
The Kings scored 108.8 points per game during a 3-1 start, but their scoring is down nearly 19 per game during a 1-8 stretch.
“For me, I need to pick up more offense, be more aggressive,” he said.
Evans, the reigning rookie of the year, averaged 23.7 points in three games against the Clippers last season.
Westphal will likely match up Evans against Gordon, and the Kings’ front line of Samuel Dalembert(notes), Carl Landry(notes) and Donte Greene(notes) will have to contend with Griffin, who is one of four players averaging at least 18.0 points and 11.0 rebounds.
While Griffin has done a nice job with All-Star center Chris Kaman(notes) sidelined the last seven games with a sprained left ankle, the top pick from last year’s draft is disappointed with his 55.0 percent free throw shooting.
“It’s unacceptable,” Griffin said Monday after missing eight of 14 foul shots. “The most frustrating thing is to shoot 50 free throws in practice make 46, and then come out here and miss over half of my free throws. It’s not embarrassing. It’s just something mental. It’s something I’ll keep working on, and I’ll work it out.”
The last time the Clippers won consecutive games was during a three-game run Feb. 20-24. They’ve dropped three straight and seven of nine against Sacramento.