by Charlie O. Mallonee
Sacramento – The Sacramento Kings played great basketball for 36-minutes on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. Unfortunately for the Kings, the 12-minutes they did not play well in the third quarter cost them the game as they lost to LAC 97-95.
The Kings went on a 6-0 run with 1:20 remaining in the game to the tie the score at 95-95 with 15.6-seconds to go on the game clock. The Clippers called a timeout with 14.8-seconds to go to draw up a play.
The Clippers put the ball into the hands of their leading scorer Blake Griffin who made a fadeaway jump shot from the left side of the floor to give his team a two-point lead with 3.7-seconds remaining in the game. LAC head coach Doc Rivers would later say he was not happy because his team took that shot too early leaving the Kings too much time on the clock.
Buddy Hield put up a desperation floating jump shot at the buzzer but it was no good. The Clippers (7-11) won their second game in row downing the Kings (5-14) by just two points.
The 3rd Quarter was a nightmare for Sacramento
The Kings scored only 10 points in the third quarter versus the Clippers after posting 61 points in the first half. LAC came out with a defensive mindset and dominated SAC.
The Kings shot 45.8-percent for the game but shot only 21.1-percent (4-for-19) in the disastrous quarter. They converted 11-of-21 three-point attempts for the game but went 0-for-4 in the third quarter.
Sacramento had one assist while they turned the ball over eight times which resulted in seven points for the Clippers.
Ten Kings players saw action in the third quarter, but only four of them scored points. All 10 players had a minus number on their +/- stat for the quarter.
Blake Griffin and Lou Williams led the scoring for the Clippers with 12 points each. Los Angeles shot 55.6-percent (10-for-18) from the field and hit on 6-of-8 (75-percent) 3-point attempts in the third period.
The Kings outscored the Clippers in every quarter except the third when LAC recorded 29 points to just 10 for SAC.
Dave Joerger was not happy with the loss but he knows it is part of player development
“Buddy Buckets” leads the Kings in scoring
Buddy Hield had an exceptional game for Sacramento coming off the bench scoring 27 points in just under 26-minutes of playing time. The second-year shooting guard hit 10-of-18 shots from the floor. Nine of those shots were taken behind the 3-point line and Hield hit seven of those attempts for 21 of his 27 points. His back-to-back 3-pointers in the last 1:20 of the game put the Kings in a position to possibly win the contest.
One of the criticisms of Hield coming out of Oklahoma was that he would not be able to convert the longer 3-point shot in the NBA. It certainly appears to have proved those critics were wrong. Hield has adjusted just fine to the deeper 3-point zone in “the Association”.
Zach Randolph drew the very tough assignment of matching up with Clippers big, tough center DeAndre Jordan. Not only did Z-Bo play Jordan tough – he held the center to five points. Jordan did haul in a game-high 16 rebounds. Z-Bo put up 17 points shooting 7-for-14 in the game. Randolph also added seven rebounds, three assists and one steal in his 30-plus minutes of playing time.
Bogdan Bogdanovic posted 10-points on Saturday night. He shot 50-percent hitting on 4-of-8 shots from the field. He was 1-for-2 from 3-point land.
George Hill also scored 10 points against the Clippers on Saturday night. He went 4-for-7 shooting from the floor and hit 1-of-2 attempts from 3-point territory. Hill also dished out three assists.
SAC had some impressive team numbers
The Kings shot 33-for-83 (45.8-percent) from the floor versus the Clippers. They shot an impressive 52.4-percent (11-for-21) from downtown. SAC converted 8-of-9 free throw opportunities (88.9-percent). The nine free throw attempts number is too low.
Sacramento recorded 37 rebounds (eight offensive) to go with 19 assists, nine steals and eight blocked shots. The Kings committed 18 turnovers which resulted in 15 Clipper points.
Doc Rivers was happy to see his team pick up its second consecutive win
Blake Griffin played like an All-Star
The veteran forward scored a game-high 33-points in his 38-plus minutes on the floor. Griffin shot 13-for-25 from the field but was just 2-for-7 from behind the 3-point line. He recorded five assists and had four rebounds.
Lou Williams scored 10 of his 18 points in the second-half. He shot 4-for-8 from the floor. All four of his baskets were 3-point buckets. His other six-points came two 2-point baskets and at the free throw line. Williams also posted five assists and had three steals.
Life does not get any easier for the Kings as on Monday night they have to travel to the Bay Area to take on the Defending NBA World Champion Golden Warriors (15-5).
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers will also return to action on Monday night when they will host the guys who use the locker room on the other side of the Staples Center – the Los Angeles Lakers.