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Kings 98, Clippers 92: Sacramento stuns Clippers in L.A. on back of Cousins' monstrous game

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports


That's my first reaction to an amazing 98-92 Kings win in Los Angeles against a very good Clippers team.  The Kings have started the season 2-1 for the first time since 2010-11 on the back of great defense and an even better game from DeMarcus Cousins.  Cousins was unstoppable, scoring 34 points on 15-23 shooting to go along with a game-high 17 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks.

Rudy Gay was still feeling it after his 40 point explosion on Friday against the Blazers, following up that effort with 25 points on 14 shots to go with 7 rebounds and a team-high 6 assists.  Starting Point Guard Darren Collison shot just 4-12 from the field, but his 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists along with his tough defensive work proved huge, especially in crunch time.  Collison's jumper with under a minute left helped seal the game for the Kings

The Clippers were without scoring dynamo Jamal Crawford but still had plenty of weapons left.  The Kings took most of them away though, with only Chris Paul really having a good game, finishing with 16 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals.  Blake Griffin chipped in 17 points, but shot just 6-20 from the field, not finding a rhythm at all.

The Kings defense again stepped up, holding their 3rd straight opponent to under 100 points.  The Clippers as a team shot just 37.5% from the field and 29.0% from three.  Sacramento also outrebounded the Clippers 46 to 35.

Sacramento's now got the tough task of trying to play the second night of a back to back in Denver tomorrow, but at least they'll be feeling good about the way they played tonight.

For the opponent's perspective, visit Clips Nation.

Random Observations:

  • The Kings shooting guard position still isn't giving us much offense.  Both Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas only scored 3 points each, and Ben's three was of the absurdly lucky variety.  We need these guys to be hitting their open shots, but I'd also like to see some plays run for them, Nik especially.  I do however like the defensive effort that both have given.  Ben was having a little trouble with how much Redick was moving off the ball, but he held his own for the most part.  Nik ended up with THREE blocks.  That might stay his career-high forever.
  • DeMarcus Cousins was truly on another level.  He was active on D, and relentless on O.  There were a couple occasions where he missed his first attempt, surrounded by several Clippers players, but somehow came out of the scrum with the ball and finished the second chance.  He also had some amazing high-low passes to Jason Thompson throughout the game.
  • Rudy Gay has some of the best up and under and rip-through moves in the league.  He's so good at creating space when there doesn't seem to be any.  If he gets into the paint with any semblance of space, it's basically game over.
  • Omri Casspi is a ball of energy, and one of the few Kings that seems to take to unselfish ball movement naturally.  I really like what he's bringing to this team.  6 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in just 16 minutes is great work.
  • I love Reggie Evans' effort.  I do not love Reggie Evans' offense.
  • Turnovers were a problem again as the Kings piled up 19, but their defense was good enough that it didn't hurt too bad.
  • Yet another bad game from Sessions.  At one point the Kings were down two points in the fourth quarter but three straight possessions ended with no points because of Sessions, including two missed free throws and a really bad turnover.  I'd like to give him more of a leash considering he's a veteran, but if he keeps playing like this I'm not so sure that Ray McCallum doesn't start seeing some time.
  • Carl Landry is a wizard around the basket.  That's why I don't get why he settles for long jumpers ever.  He only took one today though, so that's not too bad.
  • Jason Thompson might not have had any gaudy stats but he was definitely a big part of this win, especially on defense.  He was a big part in holding Blake Griffin to just 6-20 from the field, and he also did a good job of cutting and was rewarded by high post passes from Cousins for two key baskets.  This is the type of game we need from JT consistently.
  • The Clippers all had either moustaches or handlebars.  I think they must be doing a version of Movember.  Blake Griffin's mustache was particularly bad.
  • Spencer Hawes had an annoyingly effective game early, especially as the Kings kept biting on all of his pump fakes.  He finished with 17 points for the Clippers on 5-10 shooting but he did miss a huge wide open three down the stretch that helped seal the Kings victory.
  • I like that there's a new NBA replay center, but man, it seems to take even longer than usual for replays.  It kills momentum and takes way too much time.  I feel like refs should have a shot clock for replays, and if they can't figure it out in that time, the call on the floor stands.  That should speed things up.
  • For the most part the Kings played very good defense.  However I have to say that in J.J. Redick's case they got lucky quite a few times.  There aren't many games where you'll see Redick go 2-10 from three with the kind of open looks he was getting all game.