The Kings are now 0-3 against the L.A. Clippers, thanks to a 100-99 loss Monday night at ARCO. With the defeat, Sacramento has fallen to 5-23 on the season, and 3-14 at home. Both records are the league's worst. Only two teams have road records worse than the Kings' home record: the Wolves at 2-17 and the Wizards at 0-15. The Kings have the worst home record by a solid 3-1/2 games.
Sacramento lost despite 19 turnovers for the Clippers and just nine by the Kings. Tyreke Evans had his best game in ages, but crumbled in the team's most important possession with Sacramento down by a point with 20 seconds to go. Evans drove the lane and was stripped, leading to an uncontested Blake Griffin dunk to give the Clips a three-point lead with five seconds to go. After getting awarded three free throws on an obvious non-shot, Evans made two and missed the last to preserve L.A.'s lead. Neither DeMarcus Cousins or Evans could finish their putback attempts.
The Clippers led by nine points after the first quarter, despite Paul Westphal's latest line-up shift. Donte Greene, who has started 18 games this season, received a DNP-CD because of Francisco Garcia's starting spot. Beno Udrih couldn't guard Baron Davis early, forcing Evans to switch onto him. Once that happened, Gordon blew up, and finished with 31 points on 12-19 shooting.
Carl Landry and Cousins finished a combined 5-19 from the floor.
The Kings had another spirited performance, but just couldn't get over the hump. Sacramento fought back from nine down with three minutes to make it a 1-point game, but Tyreke Evans -- who had marvelous game -- missed a heartbreaking free throw that would have tied the game with just seconds left. DeMarcus Cousins willed up a putback attempt that couldn't get over the rim; Evans grabbed the carom and touched off the potential game-winner ... but it bounced away.
Evans played terrific ball on both ends. Baron Davis got off to a hot start, so Paul Westphal switched Evans onto him. That ended Boom's success quickly. To that point, Evans had been effectively defending Eric Gordon; Beno Udrih, who then took over Gordon duty much of the night, fought hard on defense, but couldn't close out on the hot-shooting Clip.
Blake Griffin is a fantastic young player, and only Samuel Dalembert was able to defend him well ... though Evans had a lovely chasedown block on the presumptive R.O.Y. in the third quarter. Cousins had a rough night shooting the ball, but rebounded really well and was effective in help defense in terms of cutting off driving lanes.
Both Francisco Garcia, starting for the first time since the season opener, and Omri Casspi played well, with each hitting four three-pointers. Those shots were timely, as well, keeping the Clippers from opening up a big lead at various points of the game. The Kings beasted on the offensive glass, with Cousins taking down four in 23 minutes.
The Kings looked prime to win, and fought hard throughout. Everyone on this team is engaged and ready to lay it all on the court.