SACRAMENTO -- Close, but no cigar. The Sacramento Kings shook off a disastrous second quarter to make it a game. But like so many other nights this season, they ran out of gas in crunch time and fell to the Los Angeles Clippers by a final of 106-98.
With all eyes focused on Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, the coach’s son got loose. Austin Rivers lit the Kings up for 18 of his 24 points in the first half. He attacked the rim and when Sacramento gave him space, he drilled them from the perimeter.
Paul orchestrated the Clippers offense, dropping 12 assists and 14 points on the night. J.J. Redick got hot from the perimeter, scoring 19 points on 6-for-13 shooting and DeAndre Jordan went off for 20 points and nine rebounds.
Dave Joerger mixed up his starting lineup, turning to Ty Lawson, Darren Collison, Rudy Gay, Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins to begin the game and they responded with a 29-19 first quarter. But then the wheels fell off the Kings’ bus leading into the half.
The Kings couldn’t find a bucket in the second quarter and their defense completely fell apart. Los Angeles used a 34-12 quarter to take a 12 point lead into the intermission. Sacramento battled late, but they didn’t have the legs to finish the comeback.
Cousins looked uncomfortable early against DeAndre Jordan, but got it going in the third quarter. Sacramento’s All-Star big stuffed the stat sheet, finishing the night with 25 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks in the loss.
Gay returned to action after missing 10-of-11 games with a hip flexor injury and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. The veteran forward posted 18 points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes of action.
The starting backcourt of Collison and Lawson worked for stretches. Collison scored 20 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Lawson chipped in 17 points and six assists.
Garrett Temple added five points and nine rebounds and Matt Barnes handed out six assists and grabbed six rebounds.
Rivers put on a show in the first half and then showed up again in the fourth. Sacramento made adjustments to slow him down, but the 24-year-old guard did some major damage.
The Kings overcame an atrocious second quarter to make it a game, but the Clippers hit three straight triples in the mid-fourth quarter to take an eight point lead and steal the momentum. Sacramento had a few chances late, but a couldn't complete the comeback.
After missing four straight, Gay returned to action against the Clippers and made a nice contribution.
The Kings continue their season-long seven game homestand Sunday afternoon when the Golden State Warriors swing by for a 6pm start.