With a few days off to celebrate the holidays, you would have hoped that the Kings would have come out ready to play some competitive basketball against a banged up Clippers team, missing some of their best players.
And they did... for a quarter at least. The Kings and Clippers both scored 30 points in the opening period but after that it was L.A. all the way as they outscored the Kings 41 to 23 in the second quarter to take a commanding lead into halftime. The Kings were never able to recover, continuing to get outscored by the Clippers in each consecutive quarter.
Willie Cauley-Stein was Sacramento’s leading scorer with 17 points on 8-10 shooting, but he had little help. Zach Randolph, normally so reliable and having been on a bit of a tear lately, had his worst game in a while with just 9 points on 4-14 shooting. George Hill scored just 7 on 3-11 and Buddy Hield scored just 10 in 17 and a half minutes.
The Clippers bench also dominated Sacramento’s, with Lou Williams chipping in 21 points on a very efficient 7-11 from the field and third year player Montrezl Harrell leading the Clippers with 22 points including 8-9 from the line. Jamil Wilson, starting for the Clippers on a two-way contract in Danilo Gallinari’s absence, set the tone early though, scoring a career-high 17 points including 5-7 from three point range. All of those points came in the first quarter alone. It was easily Wilson’s best game of his young career.
Los Angeles dominated the Kings in almost every statistical category, from field goal percentage (54.4% to 42.6%), free throw attempts (27 to 12) and assists (31 to 25). Milos Teodosic, recently returned from injury, had 10 assists to just 1 turnover in only 20 minutes as the Clippers sliced through a non-existent Kings defense.
Skal Labissiere was a healthy scratch for the Kings, even with the team down big late in the game. Dave Joerger opted to play Georgios Papagiannis and Kosta Koufos together down the stretch rather than throw in Skal in a perplexing move. For whatever reason, Skal seems to be in Coach Joerger’s doghouse this season.
This is one of those games where it’s almost nice that it’s a back-to-back tomorrow and the Kings don’t have long to dwell on it. They’ll have a chance to come back home and hopefully put together a much better effort, and they’ll need it going up against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
For the opponent’s perspective, visit Clips Nation.