by Charlie O. Mallonee
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.
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.
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.”
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.