It was announced before the start of the game that both DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay will be out of the lineup. But midway through the first quarter Gay checked in and added some spark to an already dominant offense. The Kings got off to one of their best starts while maintaining a good pace with the Clippers.
But by the third quarter something clicked and the Clippers pulled away handing Sacramento a 117-108 loss. The Kings were without Cousins who was sideline by a right ankle sprain. Gay turned out to be a game time decision. The Clippers 11-0 run in the third gave them their biggest lead of the game and they never looked back.
“Coming off a tough loss last night I just wanted to come out and make sure we weren’t flat,” said Matt Barnes. “They beat us last time at home so we knew we had to come out here ready to play regardless who was playing or not for their team. They played hard all the time so I just was a little bit more aggressive on the offensive end and my shots were falling.”
Barnes was unstoppable scoring 22 of his 26 points all in the first half. He finished with 26 points total while Blake Griffin added 30 points and 9 rebounds. Sacramento matched the Clippers throughout the first half. Jason Thompson recorded his second double-double of the season with a season-high 23 points and a career-high 22 rebounds. Thompson’s previous career-high for rebounds was 19.
“He had a huge game,” Kings head coach Tyron Corbin said. “I thought he did a great job on defense against Griffin most of the night. 22 offensive rebounds is huge for our team. I don’t think we gave up a ton of fastbreak points, so it came from the rhythm of our offense.”
Thompson’s effort was the key to Sacramento’s success in the first half and took DeAndre Jordan out of his game. Jordan got into foul trouble and grabbed only 9 rebounds. Thompson finished with 23 points and Gay added 22 points off the bench. The Kings cut the lead 86-79 in the fourth but couldn’t get any closer. The Clippers who struggled to score in the first half had no problem in the second half.
J.J. Reddick had 18 points, Chris Paul added 12 points and nine assists and Jamal Crawford scored 13 points off the bench. The Clippers recovered after losing a close one at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers the previous night. They improve to 27-14 overall and 10-7 on the road. Meanwhile Sacramento is still struggling to win at home despite their good effort. They complete their 6-game homestand with a 2-4 record.
“I can’t be anymore happy with our effort,” said Darren Collison. “We had a lot of guys that couldn’t play this game due to injuries but we had a lot of guys that stepped up. If we play with that same effort, we’re going to be alright.”
“I thought we were far more efficient in the second half and I thought our bench gave us a huge lift in the second half which was nice,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said.