Photo by Rocky Widner
Sacramento, CA - This time it counts! After two loses to the Kings in the preseason, the Los Angeles Clippers figured out how to defeat the new and improved team off the glass and in the paint.
"They're playing well, especially [DeMarcus] Cousins and [Isaiah] Thomas," Jamal Crawford said. "They're a better team, they're not the Sacramento Kings we were used to in the past."
The Clippers beat the Kings 110-101, "Lob City" put on a performance with their usual suspects. Blake Griffin finished with 20 points, 17 rebounds and six assists. Chris Paul who came off a 40-point game the night before was shut down but not all the way, he added 26 points and 10 assists.
"I came out a little slow and tried to let the game develop, but I can't be that way," said Paul. "I have to be more aggressive, that opens up things for everybody."
Isaiah Thomas came off the bench to spark the Kings offense after Los Angeles went on a 12-0 run in the first quarter. Thomas and Marcus Thornton used their 3-point skill to keep Sacramento in the game during the first half. But the rebounding by the Clippers dominated and forced them to the free throw line.
Six players scored in double figures for Los Angeles including Crawford who finished with 18 points. The Clippers led most of the game until the third quarter when the Kings rallied back behind Isaiah who scored seven points. Travis Outlaw's two points cut the lead down to two giving Sacramento a chance to get back into the game.
"We had turnovers and did not play a good game," Thomas said.
"We have to get better on the defensive end," said Cousins. "They got going, and instead of us stopping the bleeding we let them continue to do that. They didn't beat us. We beat ourselves."
Sacramento tied the game in the fourth but keeping DeMarcus on the bench during the first few minutes might have proven costly to the big man who took sometime getting back in the flow of the game. Cousins picked up a technical foul after blocking Chris Paul's shot and then taunted him.
"I love the fact that we got back into the game and we didn't stop competing," Michael Malone said. "But you can't beat a good team if you allow them to shoot 50 percent format he field and from the 3-point line.