By: Malaika Bobino
Sacramento, CA – It’s an amazing show! The entertainment is phenomenal except once in awhile the show stopping, acrobatic moves fail. And that’s what happened when the Los Angeles Clippers dunk show got out shadowed by the Kings three-point show.
In what seemed like the best performance Sacramento fans have seen all season, the Kings beat the Clippers 116-101. Connecting on 14 three-pointers, one shy of their season high, Sacramento collectively played their best ball game. Six players were in double figures and the Kings played hard ball all four quarters.
“The game plan was to be aggressive as much as possible from a defensive standpoint,” said coach Keith Smart. “We could give up some highlight dunks and some three’s, that’s going to happen, but we hoped that over the course of the game our guys could wear them down.”
Los Angeles got off to a great start but Sacramento’s defense kept them within reach throughout the first half. The usual suspects did their part, Blake Griffin scored a game-high 26 points, Chris Paul recorded his 24th double-double and Jamal Crawford scored 25 points off the bench.
“We weren’t able to slow them down,” Crawford said. “They scored 38 points in the fourth quarter and that kinda fielded the game… We feel apart at that point. They started hitting so many three’s and that got them going from the start.”
Marcus Thornton stayed wide open and went 7-of-14 from the floor while making six three’s to lead the King’s scoring with 25 points. Newly acquired Tony Douglas (trade from Houston) finished the night with 17 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter that propelled the victory for Sacramento.
“It felt good, it would’ve been just as good if somebody else would have hit them, as long as we win” said Douglas on his big night. “If we win, I’m happy.”
“They were celebrating like they won the Finals over there,” Chris Paul said. “That’s good, though. We just have to find a way to make it mean as much to us.”
The Kings who surprised many by beating the Clippers got contributions from everyone at the right time. Tony hitting 3 huge three-pointers down the stretch, Demarcus Cousins (who returned after missing the last two games with a bruised left quad) added a spark despite foul trouble with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Defensively Sacramento shut down Lob City’s spectacular show of dunks from both Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Blake got Los Angeles going in the first half while Jamal picked up slack in the second half but that wasn’t enough to stop the Kings who regained momentum after horrible foul calling in the third quarter.
Cousins got two fouls to start the third, Jason Thompson left the game to get stitches in his right eye following a collision with Jordan. Isaiah Thomas picked up three fouls and sat out the remainder of the game. The Clippers regained the lead 86-78 in the third before Tyreke Evans sparked the Kings run heading into the fourth.
“I thought we got hot at some moments, but our team settled each other down ” said Smart. “All of our veteran guys came in and tried to cool each guy down. They didn’t let it get to a point where we gave up something that was critical to us winning or losing the game.”