The Sacramento Kings hung with the L.A. Clippers deep into the fourth quarter, but relented defensively as the visitors scored 31 in the final frame to take home a 110-101 win. The Kings fall to 1-1. The Clippers are now 2-1.
Isaiah Thomas was the Kings' hero, helping Sacramento erase a 15-point deficit in the third. I.T. finished with 29 points in 18 shooting possessions, a masterful performance. He was hitting everything: layups on tough drives into the paint, pull-up threes, floaters.
He also had four assists and one turnover; clearly, he was the best King on Friday. DeMarcus Cousins like had big numbers -- 24 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks -- but shot 9-19 from the floor (not bad, but not fantastic) and had 4 turnovers. Cousins took 11 shots in the paint, shooting 6-11 in there.
All told, the Kings scored about 1.09 points per possession. Unfortunately, Sacramento's defense gave up bigger numbers to the Clippers.
Chris Paul finished with 26 points on 18 shooting possessions in addition to 10 assists. Blake Griffin shot 6-13 from the floor and a surprising 8-8 from the line to get his 20 points and 17 rebounds. Jamal Crawford was a killer off of the bench in the first half, finishing with 18 points on 7-10 shooting. (Travis Outlaw did well to prevent him from getting clean looks in the second half.) The Clippers ended up scoring 1.19 points per possession.
The Kings are back at it Saturday night against the Warriors in Oakland. The defense definitely needs to be sharper.