CK Press Box Report: Clippers 116, Kings 105

By James Ham and Rui Thomas

rudy-blake-griffin

The Sacramento Kings (22-45) still can’t figure out a way to fire on all cylinders. Playing only one side of the ball led to their demise in the fourth quarter as they lost to the Los Angeles Clippers (44-24) by the final score, 116-105.

“Teams are moving the ball very well on us, and some of the teams are very good basketball teams,” George Karl told the media after the game. “We have not adjusted. I’ve done a lousy job of figuring it out. And we just got to keep working at it and trying to figure it out.”

With DeMarcus Cousins out (calf), several unexpected folks stepped up in his absence. Ryan Hollins, who got the start in place of Cousins, went 3-for-3 for seven points in the first quarter, and then the Kings bench picked up the slack. Sacramento’s second unit outscored the Clippers’ 19-9 by the half, and 53-15 for the game. Andre Miller led the resurrected bench mob with 16 points, and Nik Stauskas added 13.

Rudy Gay produced 23 points, including a perfect 11-of-11 free throws, but shot 6-for-19 from the floor. Jason Thompson recorded 12 points and eight rebounds.

Defense once again failed the Kings. They allowed the Clippers to shoot 61.9 percent and make eight 3’s in the fourth quarter to finish at 51.1 percent for the game and 17-of-37 from downtown. LA’s dominance outside helped negate the home team’s 48 points in the paint and 26 free throws.

“It’s no question when you lose by 42 points at the 3-point line, it’s tough to make those points up,” Karl noted.

The Clippers’ backcourt schooled their young Kings counterparts, as Chris Paul notched 30 points and 11 assists, and J.J. Redick scored 27. Blake Griffin had 19 points and former King Hedo Turkoglu added 19 of his own, nine of which came in the fourth.

Sacramento falls to 4-11 under coach Karl. They’ll host the Charlotte Hornets (29-37) on Friday night.

Notes and Analysis

  • Rudy Gay went at the Clippers all night long and came away with a team-high 23 points and chipped in six rebounds and four assists.  Unfortunately, Gay shot just 6-for-19 from the field and missed all five of his shots from behind the arc.
  • Jason Thompson returned to the starting lineup after a brief hiatus.  The longest tenured King finished with strong effort for the second straight contest, dropping in a 12-point, eight-rebound game from the power forward spot.
  • Reggie Evans continues to defy Father Time.  When he plays, he is as good a rebounder as there is in the league.  Tonight against the Clippers, he grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds and added eight points in 23 minutes of action.
  • Derrick Williams got off to a slow start, but finished with 11 points on 3-for-6 shooting and 4-of-5 from the line.  When Williams is aggressive, he provides plenty.  When he is passive, there is no reason to let him step on the floor.
  • Nik Stauskas continues to show signs of life.  Karl turned to his rookie early and often tonight and he responded with 13 points on 4-for-6 shooting.  Stauskas is clearly more comfortable with the ball in his hands than hanging around the arc and taking set shots.  It will be interesting to see how Karl develops him over the next month.
  • On the eve of his 39th birthday, Andre Miller used every bit of his NBA experience to work over the Clippers tonight.  The veteran posted up Chris Paul and stymied Spencer Hawes on the defensive end.  Miller finished with 16 points, four assists and three rebounds, and his savvy play helped keep the Kings in the game late.
  • Ryan Hollins got the start for the injured DeMarcus Cousins and played well.  The former Clipper dropped in nine points and grabbed three rebounds in 14 minutes of play.  Adding to the solid offensive effort, Hollins held DeAndre Jordan in check while he was on the floor.
  • Stat of the Night: The Kings’ perimeter defense is porous, and tonight it cost them the game.  The Clippers hit 17-for-37 from behind the arc in an 11-point game.

Quote of the Game

Rudy Gay on whether he likes George Karl’s offense

“Honestly I’ve played with three different systems in one year. I can play for any system now. I can play any, I can play on the moon.”

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