With Isaiah Thomas missing his 10th game in a row due to injury the Sacramento Kings would need all the help they could get as they took on the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Clippers. And just as he has for every prior plea for help, Reggie Evans came through. Well, at least in the first half, as the Kings rode his 10 points and 7 rebounds to keep it close in a game that neither team really assumed control of to start. Surprisingly, Reggie couldn't maintain that level of play for long, deferring to DeMarcus Cousins for the rest of the game, who finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists on 12-27 shooting.
Rudy Gay looked justifiably rusty in his return from a back injury, scoring 16 points on 18 shots and the Kings just couldn't get any help from their already thin bench. The Clippers began and ended the second half with scoring flurries en route to a 117-101 victory. Blake Griffin had 27 points but it was his 9 assists that were the most impressive part of his stat line. He and Chris Paul (17 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists), were especially effective in initiating offense against the Kings.
Solid play from the big three of Ray McCallum, Reggie Evans and DeMarcus Cousins allowed the Kings to stay within range in the first half, but a scoring drought to close squandered an opportunity for them to take the lead amidst a Shaq-like performance from DeAndre Jordan at the line. The closest the Kings would come to retaking the lead would be at the 8:55 mark of the fourth quarter, at 91-89. From that point on, however, the Clippers went on a 26-12 run to wipe away a once-promising surge.
Just like in any time these two teams play, there were fireworks.
Ben McLemore was ejected for the first time in his NBA career after two separate technical foul calls.
A sequence that really happened in the first quarter: DeMarcus Cousins drops Glen Davis to the floor with a set-up dribble, gets the ball stripped by DeAndre Jordan followed by a Ray McCallum chase-down block on a Darren Collison breakaway layup.
While the one constant over the last 5 games has been losing, the Kings have done a fantastic job of diversifying the means with which they achieve that end. Only two more chances remain for the Kings to pass up Keith Smart's 2012-2013 win mark of 28 games. Let's see what else they can come up with.
For the other perspective, visit Clips Nation.