While the Kings played much better against the Clippers tonight than they did a few weeks ago, it was not enough to overcome an incredibly deep and talented team, falling 97 to 85 and giving Los Angeles their 12th straight win. Chris Paul led the way with 24 points, 13 assists and 5 steals. Paul hit 5 of 7 three pointers and was simply a terror on both ends of the court. Blake Griffin also had a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
The Kings, tonight without Tyreke Evans and Francisco Garcia, got good contributions from their bench unit. Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette scored 12 and 18 points respectively, and Jimmer added 3 steals and 2 assists. James Johnson was better than expected as well, with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 3 blocks. Of the starters, only Jason Thompson had a decent game with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks, but foul trouble limited his minutes.
DeMarcus Cousins did not play in the second half after an apparent verbal altercation with Keith Smart at halftime. Kings TV showed Smart and Cousins exchanging words after the first quarter and this apparently carried over into the locker room. After the game, the only thing Keith Smart would say about it was that Cousins was benched for "conduct detrimental to the team". I'm sure we'll learn a bit more on the incident in the near future.
The Kings played much better in the second half than the first, but it was not enough to overcome the double digit deficit they had built up. They got as close as six points after a Jimmer Fredette three pointer in the third quarter, but no more.
Rebounding was a key factor tonight, as the Clippers thoroughly destroyed the Kings on the glass, 53 to 32, including 16 offensive rebounds for 18 second chance points. However the Kings did manage to be more effective on their second chances, scoring 17 points off just 8 offensive rebounds.
Los Angeles was also a pest in transition, holding the Kings to just 4 fast break points while scoring 17 of their own. The Kings had plenty of transition opportunities, but saw them disrupted through a combination of poor decisions and good Clipper D.
The Kings return home Sunday to play the Portland Trail Blazers, their first of two matchups next week. Hopefully they can play with the same intensity they showed tonight.
A full recap will be up later. For the opponent's point of view, visit Clips Nation
|Final - 12.21.2012||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Los Angeles Clippers||29||24||20||24||97|