Clippers Eye First Road Win Tonight in Sacramento
Posted Nov 28 2006 12:25PM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
The Sacramento Kings have had no problem scoring points recently. That's not likely to change Tuesday with the struggling Los Angeles Clippers visiting Arco Arena.
The Kings (7-5) are looking to defeat the Clippers for the 14th straight time overall and the 17th time in a row at home. The Clippers have not beaten Sacramento since a 112-107 victory on Jan. 18, 2003 at Los Angeles. The Clippers haven't won at Arco since winning 98-85 on Nov. 7, 1997.
Sacramento also is trying to extend a couple of more modest runs. The Kings can earn their third straight win Tuesday, and attempt to score 100 points or more for the fourth consecutive game.
Sacramento appears in good position to keep all the streaks alive, especially if third-year guard Kevin Martin continues his strong play.
Martin, who averaged only 10.8 points per game last season, is scoring at a 24.9 clip this season, and has scored 20 points or more in all but two of Sacramento's games. After scoring a career-high 35 points in a 109-100 win over Seattle on Friday, he scored 27 in Saturday's 105-85 victory over Portland.
As a result of his improvement, opposing defenses are paying more attention to Martin.
``I noticed it a month ago,'' said Martin, who is shooting 54.5 percent from the field. ``They are playing small guys, big guys on me, and changing it up. They are chasing me a lot more.''
The Kings have followed Martin's lead lately, scoring more than 100 points in six of their last seven games, going 4-3 in that span.
``We started talking about offense again; we had focused a lot on defense,'' Sacramento coach Eric Musselman told sacramentokings.com. ``We also played teams that like to run. You're going to score when the tempo of the game changes.''
Point guard Mike Bibby added 20 points against the Trail Blazers and is second on the Kings behind Martin with 18.1 points a game for the year.
The Clippers (6-6), meanwhile, are in the middle of their worst stretch of the young season and will try to avoid losing their fifth straight. Los Angeles fell to 0-5 on the road after losing 103-88 to Denver on Sunday, when the Clippers missed nine of their first 11 shots and could not recover.
``We got off to a bad start in the first quarter,'' Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. ``We turned the ball over and let them get offensive boards and build a lead on us.''
Making matters worse, the Clippers have been without center Chris Kaman the last two games due to a sprained left ankle. Point guard Sam Cassell, the team's leading scorer averaging 17.8 points per game, could miss this contest because of the same injury.
Cassell missed most of the second half Sunday, finishing with just two points. Third-year pro Shaun Livingston, who is averaging 6.3 points and 3.8 assists off the bench, would likely start if Cassell is unable to play.
A loss Tuesday would match the Clippers' longest losing streak from 2005-06.
``I hate this, but right now things aren't going for us,'' guard Cuttino Mobley told clippers.com. ``We've got to just keep fighting and things will turn your way. We've got to be positive about it.''
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