Culture of Hoops

Short-Handed Sacramento Kings Lose to Los Angeles Clippers, 108-117

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

The Sacramento Kings were short-handed to say the least heading into Saturday night’s matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers, a Western Conference rival looking to rise from the sixth seed.

The team was without DeMarcus Cousins for the entire game and without Rudy Gay for much of it, as both players have been included in injury reports with various sprains.

Ryan Hollins started in the place of Cousins and was matched up against DeAndre Jordan, a task that he handled well as Jordan only finished with eight points.

Los Angeles’ main source of offense came from Matt Barnes and Blake Griffin, who both made mid to long range jump shots while picking apart the Kings’ defense.

Barnes went 4-for-9 from long-range for his 26 points. Sacramento continuously failed to send help to him as Chris Paul demanded a sizable amount of attention.

Griffin, whose mid-range jump shot was trouble for the Kings, scored 30 points on the night and took advantage of the usual passing output from Chris Paul. He also had five rebounds and five assists.

The Clippers jumped to a 13-point lead in the second half which was surprisingly answered by the Kings when Ty Corbin sent in Reggie Evans off the bench. He fell into his role as energetic rebounder and brought the Kings back into five, a contribution well past his average productivity. He had eight points and eight rebounds in just 18 minutes.

Through the fourth quarter, however, the Clippers floated around a 10-point lead and didn’t let off the gas pedal. Sacramento couldn’t get any serious offensive flow and had to force many shots as the clock expired.

Ben McLemore‘s shooting slump seemed to come to a close in the losing effort, as his 50 percent from the field was as a result of his own ball-handling ability. He put the ball on the floor more often than usual with Cousins out of the game and put himself in spots to score. He finished the game with 14 points, two assists and two steals.

One of the surprising reasons that the Kings were able to stick around in the early portions of the game was Jason Thompson‘s offensive and rebounding output. He didn’t shy away from his matchup with Griffin and challenged him with the ball, and it resulted in one of his most productive games. He carried Sacramento’s offense and allowed them to keep the game close in the first half.

Thompson had 23 points on 9-for-15 from the field, and grabbed 22 rebounds.

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