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Clippers 105, Kings 87: Decade ends with a fitting loss

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Yeah, a game happened today

Kimani Okearah

It’s now eight straight losses for the Kings and they’re 10 games below .500. It was difficult to see the Kings break their streak today against one of the best of the West but it looked possible since the Clippers would be without two important pieces and, early on, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard were bad offensively. The Kings yet again failed to capitalize on their opportunities and disappoint to another loss.

Quarterly Recap

Injury notes: De’Aaron Fox (lower back) is available. Marvin Bagley (left foot) is OUT. Patrick Beverley (wrist sprain) is OUT along with Lou Williams.

The Kings scoring opened up with Richaun Holmes patented shot and a Nemanja Bjelica three. The Clippers struggled to make shots but the Kings allowed second and even third chance opportunities which kept them in the game early. De’Aaron Fox looked aggressive and drew fouls, but free throws were a problem. Paul George opened up shooting 0-5 from the floor. Harrison Barnes drew a three point play after Kawhi Leonard fouled him with two seconds left on the shot clock, but went 1-3 from the line. Maurice Harkless would drain a three at the shot clock buzzer the other way, swinging the momentum. Harry Giles was the first big man sub and he got a steal immediately. The Clippers led 28-23 after one. Buddy Hield led the Kings with 12 points on 4-5 shooting overall and two rebounds.

Giles got a 20 foot jumper to begin the second but the Clippers got momentum and eventually took a 39-27 lead a few minutes into the quarter. Keep in mind the Clippers were not getting production from George or Leonard, but their role players were stepping up big time. The Kings were not hitting their threes and had bad turnovers through offensive fouls and missed catches, so the Clippers took advantage of that. Fox got aggressive again, good plays happened but the defense was out of it. Sacramento only managed 17 points in that quarter and trailed 57-40. Holmes now led with 14 points and seven rebounds, Hield didn’t score, Fox only had four points and the bench came up with four points.

The Kings cut it to 12 early in the third with the offense looking a little better. They got some threes to fall from Fox and Bjelica with Holmes finishing down low, a good combo to have. The Clippers bumped up their lead again, but the Kings cut it back to 12 following a three from Hield. Holmes continued to hustle everywhere and really, the Kings are unbelievably worse without him. Los Angeles went on a 9-2 run to lead 85-66, their biggest of the game but Barnes followed it up with his first triple of the game. The Kings would still trail 88-73 despite outscoring the Clips 33-31 in the 12 minutes. Holmes still led the Kings with 20 points and eight rebounds. Leonard’s 24 points led his squad.

Montrezl Harrell attempted to go up on Giles, but Giles held his ground and ripped it out and the Kings ran. Giles lost the ball but Hield was right there to pick it up and laid it in. He just makes good plays. Cory Joseph hit a corner three and it became a 93-82 lead. As soon as I typed up the second to last sentence, Giles missed two good looks down low. The Clippers then went on a 7-0 run and the lead grew to 100-82. Rinse and repeat.

Notable Players

The MVP of the season, Richaun Holmes, had another solid outing despite not getting much help. The center would finish with 22 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and a steal. He also went 6-6 from the stripe and played really well defensively against Montrezl Harrell, a guy the Kings could not contain last season.

Buddy Hield did as best as he could do with some really good defenders guarding him even though he missed looks he made a season ago. Hield finished with 20 points on 7-17 shooting, 3-10 from three. He added six boards and five assists.

De’Aaron Fox didn’t have a Fox-like game and though the spurts of aggressiveness helped his cause, he was far too passive for much of the game and when he was on the floor, the ball wouldn’t be in his hands often. Injuries may have played a part but his stats were nine points on 3-10 shooting, six assists, four rebounds and two steals.

Bogdan Bogdanovic didn’t help much off the bench putting up just six points on 3-7 shooting, three assists, three rebounds and two blocks. Not a huge +/- guy, but his -18 was accurate.

Notable Stats

The Clippers were 21-22 from the line (95%) to the Kings 13-19 (68.4%).

The Kings were just 8-28 from three. Even the open looks don’t go down anymore.

Los Angeles out-rebounded the Kings 51-41 and had more assists at 21-20.

Sacramento had 12 fast break points, a slight improvement, but not where this team can be.

Next Game

The Kings will host the Memphis Grizzlies this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. PST. The 13-21 Grizzlies will be coming off a win against Charlotte.