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Kings 121, Clippers 133: Back below .500

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Sacramento couldn’t make a comeback against the Los Angeles Clippers, who put the game away late in the fourth.

Kimani Okearah

More turmoil in the front office and another loss for the Sacramento Kings, who fall to 10-11 on the season. Tobias Harris and Montrezl Harrell had great performances against the Kings today, scoring 28 and 24, respectively. The Kings were led by Bogdan Bogdanovic’s 26 points off the bench, but it wasn’t enough. After what was a very entertaining first half, the Clippers did a great job to prevent a Sacramento comeback.

The first quarter did not go as planned for the Kings. The Los Angeles Clippers scored 42 points, the most they have scored in any quarter this season. Rookie guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander got off to 11 points, Avery Bradley added 10 and Tobias Harris scored nine early on. The Kings, who shot 41% in the quarter compared to the Clippers’ 68%, were led by Willie Cauley-Stein with six points, while De’Aaron Fox and Nemanja Bjelica had five each. The Kings trailed 42-26 at the end of the quarter.

Well, the second quarter was almost the opposite of the first. The Clippers started off making some shots, but the Kings slowly started to bite into the lead. Bogdan Bogdanovic got this offense going in the second, and he took his point total to 13 to end the quarter. Fox took over late in the quarter, scoring six in a row for Sacramento at one point. His dribbling to split the defenders which ended in a lob to Marvin Bagley was the highlight of the half. Bagley had 12 points and six rebounds to end the half as well. The Kings scored 42 in this quarter, to match the Clippers first quarter output. They would trail 71-68 to end the half.

Sacramento trailed at one point in the third quarter 92-82, but stormed back into the deficit and made it 96-93. Justin Jackson saw minutes and had a big opportunity to tie the game, but it went off the back iron. After that miss, the Kings failed to hit a shot (0-6 the rest of the way) and the Clippers answered with a 5-0 run to end the quarter 101-93. Bagley led the Kings with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Fox had 17. Tobias Harris had 21 through three to lead the way for Los Angeles.

Montrezl Harrell. That’s all you need to know in this quarter. No matter what the Kings did, whether it was Bogi going on his own run or Jackson hitting two threes, they made their own run. Harrell had two and-1 opportunities late in the fourth, which hindered any chance for a late Kings comeback. Fox came in pretty late in the quarter, which was not a smart choice by Dave Joerger and Bagley left the game early with back tightness and did not return. His absence was felt. Kings fell 133-121 to lose their third straight game.

Best Players

Bogdan Bogdanovic led the way off the bench with 26 points and also added six assists and four rebounds. With Iman Shumpert only scoring four points in 22 minutes, one may wonder if we’re getting closer to seeing Bogi return to the starting lineup very soon.

Marvin Bagley had an 18 point, 10 rebound double-double in 27 minutes, but back problems in the fourth kept him out for the rest of the game. Who knows how the game would’ve ended if Bagley hadn’t gotten injured.

De’Aaron Fox had a huge second quarter, but made minimal impact in the second half. That could be in large part to Joerger’s decision to keep him on the bench in the fourth, but when he came in, he turned the ball over and the Clippers immediately scored (see Harrell’s ridiculous and-1). I’m not big on +/-, but a -23 definitely stick outs on the stat sheet as far as I’m concerned.

Willie Money Watch

If you look at the plain numbers, you’d think Willie had a pretty decent game with 17 points and 10 rebounds on 8-13 shooting. However, he still makes the same mistakes over and over again and hasn’t seemed to learn from them. He’s having a rough stretch of late, despite solid numbers in this one.

Notable Players

Buddy Hield only had 10 points with six rebounds and was 4-13 from the field. The 0-7 mark from three is a killer, because even if 3-4 of those go in, this is a different game.

Justin Jackson had eight points and four rebounds in 12 minutes. He had a foul that resulted in a Patrick Beverly and-1, but I thought it was a bad call. All Jackson has to do is put up numbers like these and he’ll give the Kings a solid boost off the bench.

Notable Stats

The Kings were 29% from three, but were 22-26 from the free throw line.

Sacramento won the rebound battle 48-38.

22 fast break points for Sacramento, a stat they tend to thrive in, but it still wasn’t enough.

The Game in One Sentence

Three straight losses and the Kings are now under .500, for what seemed like a long time ago when they were under that mark. :/

Next Game

The Indiana Pacers come into the Golden 1 Center on Saturday at 7:00 PM PST. It’s going to be another tough opponent.