Kings vs. Clippers: Western Conference playoff race, injury updates and scouting reports

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The Kings still have an outside chance of securing the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference playoff race, but play-in position is the immediate concern with only eight games remaining in the regular season.

The Kings will conclude a five-game homestand when they face the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. The Clippers are fighting for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs while the Kings are trying to avoid falling any further amid a wave of untimely injuries.

The Clippers (47-27) are fourth in the West, four games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves and two games ahead of the Dallas Mavericks. They just returned to California after beating the Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets in the first three games of a four-game road trip.

The Kings (43-31) slid from seventh to eighth in the West on Monday when the Phoenix Suns defeated the New Orleans Pelicans. The Kings are one-half game behind the Suns and 1 ½ games behind the Pelicans for the No. 6 seed.

The Los Angeles Lakers are 1 ½ games behind the Kings in ninth. The Golden State Warriors are three games behind the Kings in 10th.

The top six teams in the West will earn automatic playoff berths. The next four teams will have to fight their way in through the play-in tournament. The teams that finish seventh and eighth will face each other for the No. 7 seed. The loser of that game will face the winner of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 game for the No. 8 seed.

The Kings are adjusting their rotation on the fly after Kevin Huerter suffered a torn labrum and Malik Monk went down with an MCL sprain. Reinforcements arrived when Trey Lyles and Sasha Vezenkov returned from injuries in Tuesday’s 127-106 victory over the Utah Jazz.

The Clippers have ruled leading scorer Kawhi Leonard out due to right knee soreness.

This will be the fourth and final meeting between the Kings and Clippers this season. The Clippers beat the Kings 131-117 on Nov. 29 in Sacramento and 119-99 on Dec. 12 in Los Angeles. The Kings picked up a 123-107 win on Feb. 25 in Los Angeles.

Scouting Sacramento

The Kings have taken their defense to another level in recent weeks, ranking seventh in defensive rating (110.4) over the past 15 games. They have held nine of their last 11 opponents to less than 110 points.

De’Aaron Fox is averaging 26.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.0 steals. Fox is 11th in the NBA in scoring, but he has averaged just 22.8 points while shooting 41% from the field over the past 10 games.

Domantas Sabonis averages 19.6 points, 13.6 rebounds and 8.3 assists. He leads the league in rebounding, double-doubles (70) and triple-doubles (26).

Sabonis has recorded 57 consecutive double-doubles, the longest single-season streak since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. He has joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history with 1,000 rebounds and 600 assists in a season.

Scouting Los Angeles

The Clippers are No. 3 in offensive rating (119.1) and No. 28 in defensive rating (119.7) over the past 15 games.

Leonard is averaging 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.6 steals. He is shooting 52.5% from the field and 41.7% from 3-point range.

Paul George averages 22.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.5 steals. He is shooting 47.1% from the field and 41.3% from beyond the arc.

James Harden averages 16.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists. He is shooting just 43.5% from the field, but he is hitting 39.1% from long distance.

Clippers at Kings

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Golden 1 Center

TV: NBC Sports California

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140

Odds: Clippers -2.5

Over/under: 221.5

Injury report

Clippers: OUT — Kawhi Leonard (knee).

Kings: OUT — Jordan Ford (G League); Kevin Huerter (shoulder); Colby Jones (G League); Mason Jones (G League); Malik Monk (knee); Jalen Slawson (G League).

Upcoming schedule

April 2 vs. Los Angeles Clippers

April 4 at New York Knicks

April 5 at Boston Celtics

April 7 at Brooklyn Nets

April 9 at Oklahoma City Thunder