Rockets work from downtown to beat the Kings 132-112 on Saturday night

Hou score

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings faced a Herculean task on Saturday night. First, they had to go for a win in the second game of a back-to-back set on the road for which the odds are against the road team. Second, the team they would have to defeat would be the Houston Rockets–one of the most talented “Tier One” teams in “the Association.”

This would also be the Kings’ fourth back-to-back set of games this season, which is just 16 games old for Sacramento. For a league that wanted to reduce the number of back-to-back games, the NBA seems to be doing a poor job of it when it comes to the Kings.

After losing to the Grizzlies on Friday night, the Kings came up short in Houston losing to the Rockets 132-112. The Rockets have won seven of their last nine games and have now won four games in a row. Simply put, the Rockets are on fire!

The Rockets’ plan was to slow the Kings down

Hou starters

Everyone in the NBA now knows the Kings’ plan is to run their opponent out of the building. The defense that appears to be the most effective against that plan is to slow down the Kings pace of play and force them into a half-court game. Sacramento appears to be unable to adjust when having to play at a slower pace.

The Kings shot 45.1-percent (46/102) overall for the contest. They hit on just 11-of-35 (31.4%) 3-point attempts. Even more important, SAC only had 12 attempts from the free throw line and converted just seven of those shots. Having just 12 free throw opportunities indicates that the Kings were not attacking the bucket.

Sacramento had just 14 fast break points in the game while the Rockets posted 17. When the opponent has more fast break points, the Kings are in serious trouble which they were on Saturday night.

The Rockets played their game to perfection

Hou Capela = 88

Kings radio broadcaster Gary Gerould described the Houston game as “pick and roll, isolation and deep 3-point shots.” The Rockets did all three of those things to perfection on Saturday night.

The Rockets shot 56.8-percent (46/81) for the game. They converted 20-of-47 (42.6%) of their 3-point shots. Houston hit 20-of-24 (83.3%) of their free throw attempts. Chris Paul tied his career-high with six 3-point baskets made in the game.

Houston dictated the action by playing the game according to their game plan while forcing the Kings to play a style other than their uptempo–run them out of the arena plan.

Key Kings Numbers

  • Buddy Hield leading scorer with 23 points, shooting 10-for-17
  • De’Aaron Fox posted 19 points, going 2-for-4 from downtown
  • Marvin Bagley III played 27-plus minutes and put 16 points in the book
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 14 points and had 5 assists in just 20 minutes
  • Every King in uniform appeared in the game on Saturday night
  • The Kings are now 8-8 for the season

Houston Stats

  • James Harden was the game’s leading scorer with 34 points
  • Clint Capela posted a double-double with 23 points and 16 rebounds
  • CP3 put up 24 points with 6-of- his 7 buckets being 3-pointers
  • Gerald Green scored 17 points in just 13:40 of playing time
  • The Rockets biggest lead in the game was 26 points
  • Houston is now 8-7 this season

The Kings are in the midst of controversy

Hou Joerger

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Kings’ head coach Dave Joerger could be on the “hot seat” for not playing younger players like Marvin Bagley III in favor of players like Nemanja Bjelica in order to get wins. Haynes premise was that Joerger was not following the script of developing young talent such Bagley, Harry Giles III, and Skal Labbissiere.

After the game, Kings general manager Vlade Divac issued a statement stating support for Joerger and his confidence in him.

Rockets take Game 5 with 98-94 win, go up 3-2 on Warriors in West Finals

Photo credit: nba.com/warriors

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

HOUSTON — The Rockets took advantage of 18 turnovers by the Warriors, the final pivotal one coming off Draymond Green’s leg with under 10 seconds remaining and Eric Gordon knocked down two free throws to perserve a 98-94 victory in Game 5 of the West Finals at the Toyota Center Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.

“We were suppose to score and I lost the ball, ” Green said to reporters postgame.

More importantly, it puts the defending NBA Champions on the brink of elimination as the series shifts to Oakland for a “win-or-go-home” Game 6 Saturday night at Oracle Arena. Tip off is at 5:00 p.m. PT.

After defeating the Rockets by 41 points in Game 3, the Warriors have lost back-to-back games for the first time this postseason. The postseason is not the best time of year to start going on a losing streak. The Rockets snapped Golden State’s NBA postseason-record 16-game home winning streak in Game 4.

Eric Gordon led the Rockets with 24 points off the bench on 6-of-15 shooting. In fact, the Rockets bench outscored the Warriors’ reserves 33-4 in Game 5. Gordon connected on 9-of-10 from the free throw line.

Chris Paul finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists, but was just 6-of-19 shooting from the floor, including starting 0-of-7 in the first-half. Paul left the game in the final minutes after injuring his right hamstring after coming down on the foot of Warriors’ reserve guard Quinn Cook.

After the game, it was reported that Paul will be re-evaluated Friday and his status for Game 6 is unclear.

James Harden also struggled, shooting just 5-of-21 from the field (0-for-11 on 3s) and finishing with 19 points. Like Gordon, Harden did most of his damage from the free throw line, converting 9-of-9 free throws.

“We had to rely on our defense once again,” Harden said. “Game 4, we weren’t making shots but defensively we were really good. Same thing tonight.”

Center Clint Capela finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the postseason. Capela had three of Houston’s eight offensive rebounds.

As a team, Golden State had just three offensive rebounds.

Four Warriors finished in double-figures, led by Kevin Durant’s team-high 29 points. Klay Thompson added 23, Stephen Curry scored 22 and Green finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

Golden State played solid defense, limiting Houston to 37.2-percent shooting from the floor, but the aforementioned 18 turnovers led to 18 points by the Rockets. That can’t happen if you’re a championship team that prides itself on solid execution like Golden State has done during this four-year run under head coach Steve Kerr.

“I feel great about where we are right now,” Kerr said postgame. “I know that sounds crazy but I feel it. I know exactly what I’m seeing out there…we defended them well tonight. Just too many turnovers, too many reaches.

“If we settle down a little bit, we’ll be in really good shape.”

Durant shot 8-of-22 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from behind the three-point arc, and was 10-of-10 from the free throw line. For the series, Durant is perfect at the charity stripe, shooting 37-of-37 from the free throw line.

For the second straight game, the Warriors were without Andre Iguodala who has been dealing with a left knee contusion. Iguodala suffered the injury after bumping knees with Harden in Game 3. Many believe that since Iguodala has been out, it has thrown off the Warriors’ game since Iguodala is who Kerr affectionately calls, the “adult in the room” for his ability to keep the team calm during critical stages of the game.

“He’s dying to play, but he’s not healthy enough,” Kerr said. “We’ll just continue to take it day to day.”

The game itself was a tight one, with no lead greater than six points. At halftime. the game was tied, 45-45 and the two teams stayed within three points of each other throughout the third quarter.

Golden State suffered just their second Game 5 lost in a playoff series since 2015.

If the Warriors were to lose Game 6 on Saturday night, they would miss out the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014.

The Warriors’ backs are firmly pressed against the wall but the defending NBA wouldn’t have it any other way.

Kings fight to the final buzzer but come up short as Rockets win 105-100

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Cauley-Stein puts in a dunk to cut the Rockets lead to three points with seven seconds to go in the game

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Kings open the 2017-18 regular season with loss to the powerful Houston Rockets

The Sacramento Kings kicked off their new season before a sellout crowd of 17,583 at the Golden 1 Center on Wednesday night. Their opponent was the very powerful and talented Houston Rockets who started their season on Tuesday night with a last second win over the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors in Oakland.

The Kings hoped to take advantage of catching the Rockets on the second game of a back-to-back set on the road. They also received some good news when they learned that Chris Paul would not play due to ongoing problems with a knee contusion.

Sacramento (0-1) kept the game close through all four quarters. They even won the third quarter 24-23. The lead changed eight times in the game and the contest was tied four times. Houston’s largest lead was 11 points while the Kings biggest lead was six.

James Harden struggled through the first three quarters of the game appearing to be tired from effort that expended versus the Warriors on Tuesday night. Unfortunately for the Kings, Harden caught a second wind in the final period and scored 12 of his game-high 27 points over those last 12 minutes. That performance really made the difference for the Rockets (2-0).

Despite being down by 11 points with 5:13 remaining in the game the Kings did not give up and cut the Houston lead to just three points with 26-seconds to go in the contest. It was at that point this game took a left turn that the Kings would never recover from.

The Kings George Hill sank two free throws to make it a 98-95 game with Houston in the lead with 26-seconds remaining. On the inbounds play, Hill appeared to disrupt the possession by Eric Gordon who lost control allowing the ball to go out-of-bounds. The big crowd went wild but settled as a video replay was ordered.

What the crowd, the Kings bench and the majority of the media did not understand was the replay was not to determine if Gordon was the last player to touch the ball before it went out-of-bounds. The replay was to confirm a foul call that made on Hill by the referee on the far-side of the court. The replay center in Secaucus upheld the foul call and Gordon was sent to the charity stripe to shoot two shots.

Gordon hit both shots to give Houston a five-point lead with 26-seconds to play essentially sealing the win for the Rockets. The Kings gave it their best effort but came up short.

Kings head coach Dave Joerger addresses the call in a very subdued manner in part two of his video comments.

Dave Joerger was very proud of the effort his team gave against the talented Rockets

  • Sacramento shot 42-for-88 (47.7%) from the floor
  • The Kings shot 8-for-23 (34.8%) from 3-point land
  • The team went just 8-for-10 from the free throw line vs. 27-for-29 for the Rockets

Joerger was not happy about the foul call that was upheld by the video replay center

  • De’Aaron Fox 14 points (7-for-15 shooting), five assists, four rebounds, 23-minutes of playing time
  • Buddy Hield 19 points (8-for-17 shooting including three 3’s), five rebounds, four assists, one steal

Coach Joerger was pleased with the play of Willie Cauley-Stein

  • Cauley-Stein with the double-double: 21 points (game-high for SAC), 10-for-15 shooting, 10 rebounds (four offensive), three blocked shots

This was a Tier One vs a Tier Three game

  • Kings played without Zach Randolph who was sidelined by oral surgery
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic did not play because of a sprained right ankle

The Kentucky connection was very important to the Kings on Wednesday 

  • Skal Labissiere 12 points, 10 rebounds to post a double-double
  • Cauley-Stein, Labissiere and Fox = 47 points, 24 rebounds, seven assists

Up next for the Kings and Rockets

  • Sacramento heads out on the road and will face the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night
  • The Rockets will have their home opener on Saturday night when they host the Dallas Mavericks

Kings Press Row Podcast featuring Ben DuBose of Sports Talk 790 Houston previewing the Rockets

Charlie O hosts the Kings Press Row Podcast

Ben DuBose Pix

Ben DuBose of Sports Talk 790 Houston and Locked on Rockets Podcast previews the Houston Rockets for Kings fans.

Cp3
CP3 moves past Curry Photo: USA Today
  • How are James Harden and Chris Paul working out as a backcourt team so far in the preseason?
  • With Harden and CP3 on the floor together does that change the pace of play for the Rockets?
  • How does local favorite Ryan Anderson look so far in the preseason?
  • Now that the roster is set – are there any surprises?
  • Is there any worry about a let down on Wednesday in Sacramento after the hype and energy that will be expended in the Bay Area versus the Golden State Warriors?

Get the insiders view of the Kings first opponent of the 2017-18 season in just 20 minutes of fast paced questions and answers. Be ready for opening night by knowing more about the Rockets and what to watch for as they play the Kings.

press row image

 

Kings battle the Clippers but come up short losing 106-98

 

LA Clippers v Sacramento Kings
Tipoff of Clippers vs Kings Photo: NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento ‚ÄĒ The Sacramento Kings had the unenviable job of trying to get back into the win column against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. The Clippers (25-14) came into the game winners of two consecutive games despite being short-handed due to injuries.

The Kings (15-21) literally went to battle with their rivals from Southern California but were unable to cross the finish line victorious losing 106-98.

Kings head coach Dave Joerger analyzed the game this way: “Good competitive basketball game. They’re a very talented team. They made more shots than we did. The lack of seeing the ball go in affected some of the other parts of out game. We had a tough stretch in the second quarter … they got some transition three’s. All in all good basketball game. The guys competed.”

When asked how his team is going to be able to beat teams like the Clippers in the future, Joerger responded, “They have just got to keep working and playing as hard as they can. Play at as high of a level as they can. There’s nothing to hang your head about. They (the Clippers) are one of the five best teams in the league.”

The Kings cut the Clippers lead to just two points, 100-98, with 56.2-seconds remaining in the game. After Sacramento turned the ball over on a bad pass by Cousins under the basket, the Kings had no choice but to foul the opposition. The Clippers went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in final seconds while Kings were unable to score.

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said, “The resolve, I thought that we showed in the fourth quarter was just fantastic. I love it.”

Key players returned for both teams

The Kings had been without Rudy Gay for nine games due to a right hip flexor strain. Gay was able to return to the lineup on Friday night and made an immediate impact scoring nine points in the first quarter.

Gay went on to play 33-minutes scoring 18 points and adding seven rebounds for his team. He shot 7-for-17 for the game and was just 1-for-3 from beyond the 3-point line, but there was bound to be some rust to shake off after the extended layoff.

LA Clippers v Sacramento Kings
Chris Paul returned to action for the Clippers on Friday after missing four games Photo: NBAE

Chris Paul made his return to the floor for the Clippers in the game. The all-star point guard had been sidelined for four consecutive games due to a sore left hamstring. Paul played 31-minutes and recorded a double-double by scoring 14 points and dishing out 12 assists.

Paul’s head coach, Doc Rivers, thought his defense down the stretch was what made the difference in the game for the Clippers.

The teams traded controlling the flow of the game

The Kings and Clippers each controlled the flow of the game in very distinct ways on Friday night. Sacramento was very much in charge in the first quarter as they outscored LAC 29-19 and shot 50-percent from the field. They seemed determined, ready and not totally dependent on DeMarcus Cousins.

Sacramento ran into a real rough patch in the second period as the Clippers erased their 10-point lead in less than six minutes. Los Angeles outscored the Kings 34-12 in the quarter behind the 3-point shooting of Austin Rivers and JJ Redick. Sacramento shot just 15-percent (3-for-20) in the period. At the half, the Clippers led the Kings 53-41.

Based on their play in the second quarter, the Kings could have been completely out of the game early if they did not come out strong after halftime. They responded to that challenge and shot the lights out in the third quarter. Sacramento behind Cousins’ 11 points outpaced the Clippers 32-22 in the period. The Kings shot 63.2-percent (12-for-19) from the field and hit 4-of-8 3-point opportunities as they closed the LA lead to just two points, 75-73, after 36 minutes of play.

The talent and experience of the Clippers came into play in the fourth quarter as they scored 31 points to the Kings 25. LAC shot 50-percent (9-for-18) from the floor and 50-percent (5-of-10) from 3-point land plus they converted 8-of-9 free throws in the final period. Chris Paul led the Clippers scoring attack with seven points all from the free throw line.

The Kings struggled as they shot 9-for-24 (37.5-percent) from the field and 33.3-percent (3-for-9) from long range in the quarter. They hit 4-of-5 from the charity stripe.

The flow of most games is not usually as defined as it was in this game and is much more difficult to uncover. In this game, it was almost like there was a giant flashing arrow pointing out a change in the direction of the flow of the game.

Key Performers

Kings

LA Clippers v Sacramento Kings
Ty Lawson played strong for the Kings vs the Clippers Photo: NBAE
  • DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 25 points and made it a double-double game by grabbing 11 rebounds. Cousins spent much of the night on the high post in order to avoid foul trouble by battling with DeAndre Jordan and Luc Mbah a Moute.
  • Darren Collison was very productive playing the two-guard most of the game. He scored 20 points shooting 7-for-13 from the floor and hitting 3-of-6 from beyond the 3-point arc.
  • Ty Lawson put up 17 points while shooting 50-percent (6-for-12) from the floor. Lawson also distributed six assists from the point for the Kings.
  • Kosta Koufos played a diminished role with the change in rotation due to Gay’s return and the use of Collison and Lawson on the floor together. Dave Joerger praised Koufos for his professional attitude toward the changes. He scored seven points in 12-minutes of playing time. That was key playing time because it allowed DeMarcus Cousins to get very valuable rest.

Clippers

LA Clippers v Sacramento Kings
Austin Rivers scored 24 points for the Clippers against the Kings Photo: NBAE
  • Austin Rivers had another big game for LAC scoring 24 points in almost 36 minutes on the floor. Rivers hit 4-of-7 3-point shots.
  • DeAndre Jordan put up 20 points from the five spot on the floor. He was an incredible 9-for-10 on high percentage shots for the Clippers. Many of those shots were “slammed home with authority!”
  • JJ Redick did his job to perfection killing the Kings momentum with well timed field goals that totaled 19 points. Five of his six baskets were 3-point conversions.

Up next on the schedule

The Kings will return to action at home on Sunday night when they host the Golden State Warriors. Playing the Warriors is tough enough but now Golden State is going to come to Sacramento angry. The Warriors lost an overtime game at home to Memphis on Friday night. There were reports of anger between players spilling over in the locker room. Golden State will be determined not to lose two in a row.

The Clippers return to Los Angeles and will host the Miami Heat on Sunday at the Staples Center. The Heat lost to the Lakers 127-100 at Staples on Friday night. The Clippers have the opportunity to make it four consecutive wins in one week. That would be a nice way to kick off the new year.

Kings Game Preview: Clippers look for third consecutive win on Friday night

LA Clippers v Sacramento Kings
DeMarcus Cousins scored 38 points against the Clippers in November Photo: NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Tale of the Tape

Sacramento Kings 15-20

  • 8th place Western Conference –¬†final Playoff slot if the season ended today
  • ¬†15.5 games behind 1st place Golden State
  • one-half game ahead of 9th place Portland
  • Home 7-8 Road 8-12
  • Last 10 games 6-4
  • Current Streak Lost 1

Los Angeles Clippers 24-14

  • 4th place Western Conference
  • 8.0 games behind 1st place Golden State
  • 4.5 games behind 3rd place Houston
  • Home 13-6 Road 11-8
  • Last 10 games 4-6
  • Current streak Won 2

Results of last games played

Miami Heat v Sacramento Kings
Miami’s Tyler Johnson grabs the rebound Photo: NBAE

Sacramento

The Kings suffered an  embarrassing loss on Wednesday night at home to the lowly Miami Heat 107-102. The Heat came into the game with an 10-26 record and team that has been decimated by injury. Miami was without Hassan Whiteside (retinal contusion) and Justise Winslow (right shoulder that requires season-ending surgery). The Kings were without Rudy Gay (hip flexor) and coming off a win on Tuesday night on the road in Denver. The situation certainly seemed to favor Sacramento on their home court despite the back-to-back scenario.

The Heat came out fast and full of energy while the Kings seemed sluggish. Miami scored 64 points in the first half while shooting 63-percent. The Kings fought their way back into the game in the second half by virtue of a 13-0 run at the end of the third quarter. Ultimately, the Kings ran out of gas and lost the game.

With games coming up with the Clippers, Warriors, Cavaliers and Thunder on this homestand, the game with Miami was one the Kings could not afford to lose. Now, they have to try and get healthy against the always tough Los Angeles Clippers.

LA Clippers

The Clippers have been hit hard by injuries. Point guard Chris Paul has been on the sidelines with hamstring problems and forward Blake Griffin is out due to “minor” knee surgery. The Clippers had to host the Memphis Grizzlies who played the Lakers in Staples Center on Tuesday losing 116-102. The Grizzlies were without JaMychal Green (maxilla fracture suffered in the Lakers game) and Mike Conley who was held out for rest after having missed games with a toe injury.

The Clippers were led by Austin Rivers who scored a game-high 28 points in 44-minutes on the floor. His coach and father Doc Rivers said they just could not take him off the floor. DeAndre Jordan posted a double-double putting up 18 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. JJ Redick punished the Grizzlies from outside scoring 19 points. Jamal Crawford came off the bench to add 22 points. LAC shot 50.7-percent from the field for the game and beat the Grizzlies 115-106.

The victory over Memphis was the second consecutive win for the Clippers who broke a six-game losing streak on Monday night with a win over Phoenix. Now, the Clippers will play in Sacramento looking to make in three wins in a row.

Last Meeting

The Clippers beat the Kings 121-115 in the first meeting of the year back in November at the Golden 1 Center. Sacramento was down by as many as 26 points in that game but made a big run at the Clippers in the fourth quarter to close within two points, 117-115, as the game neared the close. The Kings were not be able to score again and lost by six points.

DeMarcus Cousins scored 38 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and had seven assists for the Kings. Blake Griffin put up 29 points for the Clippers while JJ Redick scored 26 hitting 6-of-8 3-point shots.

Injury Update

NBA: Miami Heat at Sacramento Kings
Ty Lawson played against the Heat despite injury Photo: USA Today

The Kings have listed Rudy Gay as doubtful as the hip flexor continues to plague the talented forward. Doubtful means there is a 25-percent chance of Gay playing Friday night. As much as the Kings need him, do not count on see Rudy Gay in this game.

Guard Ty Lawson scored 15 points against the Heat despite having a sub conjunctival hemorrhage right/blurred vision (or as one talk show host called it “a broken face”). As a precaution Lawson is listed as questionable which means he is 50-50 to play on Friday.

The Clippers have Chris Paul listed as doubtful but Doc Rivers said that the decision will be based on the guard’s condition after a full workout on Thursday. Paul and the team have made no secret that they would like to their star return to action on Friday night in Sacramento.

Blake Griffin (knee surgery) and Brice Johnson (herniated disc, lower back) are out and will not play.

What do the teams need to do to win

Kings

  • Sacramento needs to shoot well from midrange and from beyond the arc. The Kings are capable of shooting well from the floor. They shot better than 50-percent in the loss to Miami on Wednesday. Strong shooting performances from Barnes, Collison, Tolliver, Temple, Afflalo and Lawson – if he is able to go – will be necessary to help take the pressure off DeMarcus Cousins.
  • The Kings will also need a big night on the boards from DeMarcus Cousins. DeAndre Jordan will grabbing rebounds without abandon for the Clippers, the Kings will need Cousins to do the same for them.
  • The Kings defense will also need to concentrate on shutting down the 3-point shooting of the Clippers. JJ Redick will take every opportunity given to him to heave up a 3-pointer. This is a weak point for the Kings. They need to work hard on stopping the 3-point shots on Friday night.

Clippers

  • LAC needs to shoot from beyond the arc until it hurts. This has been the Achilles heal of the Kings all season long. JJ Redick is a shooting guard who can destroy a team from 3-point land. He needs to establish that dominance early and often against the Kings on Friday night.
  • The Clippers will need a strong defensive performance from Luc Mbah a Moute and DeAndre Jordan to contain DeMarcus Cousins if they are to beat the Kings. If you stop Cousins, you stop the Kings. The problem is – it may take more than two players to stop Cousins.
  • Los Angeles could really use the presence of point guard of Chris Paul on Friday night. The Kings are going to play angry after losing to Miami on Wednesday night. Having the incredible skills of the all-star point guard to counteract that anger would really benefit the Clippers.

What do the experts predict?

  • FiveThirtyEight.com¬†says this game will go to the Clippers. They give the Clippers a 54-percent chance of winning the game. FiveThirtyEight.com says to take LAC minus one point.
  • The Desert Dwellers¬†either have no idea how to call this game or do not care about the game because as of 7 a.m. PST Friday no odds or over/under had been posted for this contest.

Complete postgame coverage tonight on sportsradioservice.com. Listen to the Kings podcast every Tuesday with Charlie O.

Kings put up a fight but the Clippers win 121-115

by Charlie O. Mallonee

LA Clippers v Sacramento Kings
J.J. Redick fires away Photo: Rocky Widner NBAE

The Clippers are now 6-0 on the road but they almost blew this win

The Los Angeles Clippers improved their record to 11-2 on the season with a 121-115 win over the Kings in Sacramento on Friday night. At one point in the first half, Los Angeles had a 26-point lead. They held a 19-point lead after three quarters were in the books.

The Kings outscored the Clippers 30-17 in fourth quarter led by Matt Barnes and his 10 points that came from his perfect 3-for-3 shooting from beyond the 3-point line. DeMarcus Cousins added seven points, Ty Lawson put up five, Garrett Temple four, Anthony Tolliver three and Rudy Gay one point.

Sacramento cut the Clippers lead to two points with 2:04 to go in the game, but that was as close as they would come to retaking the lead. Los Angeles scored the final four points of the game on a dunk by DeAndre Jordan and two free throws from Chris Paul.

The Kings changed the the lineup in the third quarter which changed the game

Dave Joerger went “small” to start the second half moving Cousins to center, keeping Gay at forward and starting three guards – Lawson, Afflalo and Collison. Joerger felt the lineup change had a profound affect on his team’s pick and roll execution. He also felt the defense improved.

The Kings team shooting percentage improved to 52.9-percent (9-for-17) in the third period as they scored 31 points.

The Clippers scored 31 points as well but their shooting percentage fell to 42.9-percent as the Kings tightened up their defense.

Los Angeles still had a 19 point lead – 104 to 85 – at the end of three quarters.

LA Clippers v Sacramento Kings
Ty Lawson Photo: Rocky Widner NBAE

The Clippers started the game on fire

Los Angeles started the game aggressively with Blake Griffin scoring 15 points and J.J. Redick adding 14 of his own. Griffin went to the free throw line eight times and converted seven times. Redick was a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point land. The Clippers shot 70-percent as a team in the first quarter.

The Clippers put up 33 points in the second quarter paced by the 20 points scored by the second unit coming off the bench. Paul Pierce – who has been used sparingly – even made an appearance scoring six points. As a team, they shot 70.6-percent from the floor and 85.7-percent (6-for-7) from 3-point range.

The Kings improved their lot in the second period by scoring 30 points. DeMarcus Cousins scored 15 points in seven minutes on the floor to keep the game relatively close.

The Clippers held a 19 point lead – 73 to 54 – over the Kings at the half.

To no one’s surprise Cousins had another monster game

The Kings superstar scored 38 points in 36 minutes of playing time on Friday night. He also posted another double-double as he pulled down 13 rebounds in the game. The amazing big man also had seven assists and three steals.

LA Clippers v Sacramento Kings
DeMarcus Cousins Photo: Rocky Widner NBAE

Lawson, Collison and Barnes also came up big

Ty Lawson played 36-minutes against the Clippers and scored 18 points, dished out eight assists and hauled in seven rebounds. His point guard counterpart – Darren Collison – played 32-minutes putting up 16 points shooting 7-for-11 (one 3-pointer) from the floor.

Matt Barnes came off the bench and played 30-minutes for the Kings scoring 15 points and recording seven rebounds. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and 4-for-6 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Coach Dave Joerger on the Kings performance

“I was proud of our guys. We came out and battled and got after it and we competed. I thought we had a lot of open shots – didn’t knock some down that could’ve really put it over the edge there late in the third quarter and then into the fourth quarter. But we didn’t put out heads down. We competed and I’m really proud of guys tonight.”

The Kings are going to go small

“I’m going to play small,” declared Kings head coach Dave Joerger after the game. “DeMarcus (Cousins) is going to play center. I don’t know who else is going to play with him. It just gives us more zip, more life, more experience. That’s not any detriment to anyone else for what they’ve done. Of course in four or five games, I’ll probably go back.”

It was the usual suspects doing the job for the Clippers on Friday night

Blake Griffin was the Clippers leading scorer with 29 points. He shot 7-for-15 from floor and was an impressive 15-of-16 from the free throw line.

J.J. Redick made rain like usual. 18 of his 26 points came off 3-point baskets. He was 6-for-8 from long range.

DeAndre Jordan posted a double-double scoring 16 points and hauling in 12 rebounds. His free throw shooting did not come into play as the big man did not go to the foul line once in the game.

Chris Paul also had a double-double for the Clippers. The star point guard put up 11 points and handed out 12 assists.

Austin Rivers was the key man off the bench for LAC adding 12 points and four assists.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers on how the Kings got back into the game

“Us! I thought that was more us. I give them credit. Coach (Joerger) went small and they got more patient in the game. They scored every time down it felt like and then we stopped offensively. We (started) going in North Carolina four corner stall, I felt like. You’re always happy to win the game, but we want to be better that … First half was beautiful basketball. It was a clinic; you couldn’t have played any better. Defensively is where it started and then in the second half we decided we were going to trade baskets with them.”

LA Clippers v Sacramento Kings
DeAndre Jordan dunks the ball Photo: Rocky Widner NBAE

What’s coming up

The Clippers flew back to Los Angeles where they will host the Chicago Bulls (8-4) on Saturday night at the Staples Center.

The Kings will host the Toronto Raptors (8-4) on Sunday night at 6:00 PM at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.

 

Kings Countdown: Friday night the red hot Clippers visit Sacramento

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers
Chris Paul vs Memphis Photo: NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Clippers (10-2)

Clippers looking to rebound from second loss of season

LAC (10-2) lost just their second game of the season on Wednesday night to the Memphis Grizzlies 111-107 on their homecourt in Los Angeles. The Grizzlies Marc Gasol hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 14 seconds left in the game to lead Memphis to the win.

J.J. Redick was the Clippers leading scorer putting up 29 points. DeAndre Jordan grabbed 14 rebounds. LAC shot 45.7-percent from the floor (37-for-81) and 9-for-25 (36.0-percent) from 3-point land. DeAndre Jordan went 0-for-2 from the free throw line.

Team Leaders for the Clippers

  • Forward Blake Griffin leads LAC in scoring with 20.6 points per game
  • DeAndre Jordan is the leader in shooting percentage at 57.8-percent with most of his scoring coming in the paint near the basket
  • Jordan is also the rebounding leader at 12.8 per game (3.8 offensive rebounds ppg)
  • Chris Paul dishes out an average of 8.3 assists per game
  • When it comes to 3-pointers, Paul and J.J. Redick average hitting 2.3 long shots per game each
  • As a team, the Clippers average 108.7 per game – fourth best in the NBA
  • The Clippers defense has held their opponents to just 93.8 points per game – number one in the NBA – this team not only can score, they can play defense

Does “hack-a-Jordan” still work?

DeAndre Jordan is shooting 44.0-percent from the free throw line so far this year, so it’s worth a try.

151112065240-deandre-jordan-nba-los-angeles-clippers-at-dallas-mavericks-home-t1
DeAndre Jordan checks the scoreboard Photo: NBAE via Getty Images

How do you beat the Clippers?

  • The Grizzlies beat LAC by doubling the number of 3-pointers they hit. Memphis hit 15 from downtown to just nine for the Clippers
  • Memphis also outrebounded Los Angeles 43-35

This is the front end of a back-to-back for the Clippers

The Clippers have to go home after the game on Friday night and host the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

Probable starters for the Clippers

  • Forward Luc Mbah a Moute 5.8 ppg
  • Forward Blake Griffin 20.6 ppg
  • Center DeAndre Jordan 10.3 ppg
  • Guard J.J. Redick 14.6 ppg
  • Guard Chris Paul 18.3 ppg

Sacramento Kings (4-8)

San Antonio Spurs v Sacramento Kings
Cousins battling under the basket Photo: Rocky Widner/NBAE

Game two of five at home

The Kings lost the opening game of the homestand to San Antonio 110-105. Now, they have to play the team with the best record in the NBA – the Los Angeles Clippers are who 10-2 on the season.

The Kings have lost three consecutive games

The Kings (4-8) have already experienced  a four-game losing streak on the long road trip that featured five games in seven nights. The team would like to avoid matching that losing streak but that is going to be a tough task against a team like the Clippers who are playing so well on both ends of the floor.

Kings must play solid defense against the Clippers

The Clippers are just too strong of a scoring team to get into a shootout with in the game. If you do, you are going to lose. The Kings must slow the game down and play solid, hard nosed defense. They must decide who they are going to shutdown. Will they go after Griffin or Chris Paul? Sacramento has to make one of those players ineffective in order to have a chance to win.

Sacramento needs a third scorer to step up

The Kings have been dependent on DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay to carry the load when it comes to scoring. The Clippers are too strong of a team on defense for the Kings to have just two scoring options. The Kings need a third player to produce tonight – preferably a guard who might be able to hit some 3-pointers.

Last year versus the Clippers

The Kings were 1-3 versus the Clippers in 2015-16. Their lone win came in January 2016 at Staples Center when six Kings players scored in double figures.

How deep will the rotation go?

There had been rumors that Dave Joerger was going to shorten the rotation on his bench and then he used 10 players against San Antonio. Only Omri Casspi and Anthony Tolliver did not see the floor versus the Spurs. Will the same be true against the Clippers tonight?

Probable starters

  • Forward Rudy Gay 21.3 ppg
  • Forward DeMarcus Cousins 26.6 ppg
  • Center Kosta Koufos 5.3 ppg
  • Guard Aaron Afflalo 9.6 ppg
  • Guard Ty Lawson 5.4 ppg
San Antonio Spurs v Sacramento Kings
Ty Lawson probable starter Photo: Rocky Widner/NBAE

For Entertainment Purposes Only

FiveThirtyEight.com predicts the Clippers have a 69-percent change of winning the game to just a 31-percent chance for the hometown Kings. FiveThirtyEight says take the Clippers minus five points.

Other sites from that desert town in Nevada project an over/under of 204.5 points. They favor the Clippers minus 8.0 to 8.5 points.

Warriors send Rockets packing in dominating fashion

by Michael Martinez

picture credit CBS 46 Atlanta

Well, Steph Curry did not play and yet the Warriors showed why they made history for the best record in NBA history. Normally, a team without their star player has a lot to worry about. The Warriors showed no problems minus the reigning MVP and proved why they are the team to beat besides the fact their last year’s champs.¬†Golden State annihilated the Houston Rockets in a 114-81 victory at Oracle Arena.

Let’s be honest, there’s not much to say about this game. The game went exactly as most would have figured given that the Warriors routed Houston in game four and not to mention they’re the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors played great, the Rockets played atrociously, which is a recipe for disaster. The Warriors played with great togetherness and to nobody’s surprise, they shot out of this world. Golden State made it look easy as they finished¬†with a 54.9 shooting percentage while Houston could not find a way to score with a 32.6 shooting percentage. Golden State played solid defense as they forced 18 turnovers for 25 points.

James Harden was the only Rockets’ player to show any offensive life¬†finishing with 35 points. Besides Harden, Michael Beasley was the only other Houston player to finish the game¬†in double figures.

Klay Thompson did his best to fill Curry’s shoes and finished¬†with 27 points. Thompson knocked down seven buckets from behind the arc on 11 shots and finished 10 of 14 from the field overall. Draymond Green was tremendous overall as usual and totaled¬†15 points, grabbed nine boards and dropped eight dimes.

Shaun Livingston had a good game on offense as well and scored 16 points on seven of eight shooting. The Warriors looked just as good as they always are and bounced the Rockets out of the playoffs.

Throughout the game, Curry showed incredible excitement from the bench and supported his teammates like no other. And this is why the Warriors are so dangerous, they have some of the greatest team chemistry I have witnessed in my lifetime.

The Warriors won the series and only allowed the Rockets to win one game, which came down to the wire.

Golden State will either face the Los Angeles Clippers who are without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin or the Portland Trailblazers.¬†Portland won game five in their series to go up 3-2 and it appears like they will be Golden State’s semifinal opponent.

Whoever the Warriors play, fans are hopeful that Curry can make his way back into the playoffs. But, with the way Golden State played tonight, let Curry take as much time as he needs to get ready for the Western Conference Finals. I am knocking on wood though, so the whole Bay Area doesn’t freak out on me and say I jinxed them.

 

Green’s 23 points leads Warriors past Clippers

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND —¬† Draymond Green scored a game-high 23 points on 8-for-15 shooting from the field in¬† 28 minutes helping the Golden State Warriors extend their lead in the Pacific Division to 10 games with a 106-98 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday at Oracle Arena. It was the 111th straight sellout for the Warriors, and their sixth straight at Oracle Arena where their an NBA-best 27-2 this season.

“We were aggressive today, which was huge for us,” said Green, who added six assists. “I thought guys were active and ready to play.”

Klay Thompson finished with 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting, while Shaun Livngston provided a lift off the bench scoring a season-high 21 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Livingston shot 9-for-14 from the floor in 28 minutes.

Stephen Curry, who didn’t score his first points until 5:16 left before halftime, finished with 12 points on 3-for-9 shoot to go along with four assists, but did have three steals which extended his consecutive games streak with at least one steal to 25 games.

Golden State (49-12) shot 50 percent (40-for-80) from the floor, and 45 percent (10-for-22) from three-point range. Green and Thompson each drained three from behind the arc.

Thompson’s three 3s moved him past his head coach, Steve Kerr (726), on the all-time list.

The Clippers (40-22), who were playing without Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford, dropped their fifth straight game in Oakland.

Backup point guard Austin Rivers led all Clippers players with 22 points off the bench in 31 minutes. J.J. Redick scored 18 points in 27 minutes on 8-for-12 shooting.

Chris Paul scored 14 points and dropped 11 assists, while DeAndre Jordan grabbed 11 of the Clippers 39 rebounds.

Los Angeles outscored Golden State 42-30 in the paint, but the Warriors forced 18 Clippers’ turnovers that led to 22 points.

“I don’t think they like us. I don’t know why,” Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers said after the loss. “Steve (Kerr) told me he didn’t like me. We’re the last team to knock them out, and they know that. So I think that adds to it.”

Golden State avenged a 100-86 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Christmas night; after Golden State pummeled Los Angeles 121-104 back in November in Oakland.

The home team has won each of the last 10 regular-season games. Golden State and Los Angeles play one more time in Los Angeles on March 31.

Golden State, who averaged a win-margin of 15.3 points per game in home wins, play the Suns in Phoenix on Monday.