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Kings 108, Clippers 117: Sacramento hangs tough but can't get over the hump

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The shorthanded Kings were without their star player DeMarcus Cousins and managed to hang with the Los Angeles Clippers for most of the game before falling 117 to 108.  The Clippers were able to pull away with a couple of big runs in both the 3rd and 4th quarters and Sacramento was never able to fully close the gap.

Jason Thompson stepped up in Cousins' absence with one of the best games of his career, scoring 23 points to go with a career-high 22 rebounds.  Rudy Gay also made a surprising appearance off the bench to score 22 points despite all indications before the game that he would not play.  Darren Collison chipped in 17 points while also helping to hold Chris Paul to 12 points on just 4-13 shooting.

The Kings and Clippers spent much of the first half tied but it wasn't the usual suspects controlling the game.  Thompson was the main man for Sacramento while Matt Barnes inexplicably burst out for 22 first half points.  Barnes would finish with 26 points for Los Angeles.  Blake Griffin added a game-high 30 points on 11-16 from the field.

The big difference in the game was turnovers, as Sacramento gave up 18 to just 5 for Los Angeles.  The Clippers outscored the Kings 16 to 6 in Points off Turnovers.  The Kings also missed a lot of second chance opportunities, making just 10 of 20 of their second attempts.  They outrebounded the Clippers 54 to 34 thanks to the efforts of Thompson, Reggie Evans and three other Kings who secured at least five boards.

Quincy Miller, who was signed to a 10-day contract just today, made his first appearance for the Kings and showed some nice things in his five minutes of action.  While he missed all three of his shots, he was making quick decisions with the basketball and found Reggie Evans for a couple of easy baskets in the low post for two assists.  He also had two rebounds.

Rookie Nik Stauskas got his first DNP-CD of the year as both Miller and Ray McCallum saw time at Shooting Guard.

Sacramento now drops to 16-24 and begins a long stretch of games on the road the rest of this month, starting with a Monday visit to Portland.

For the opponent's perspective, visit Clips Nation.