In a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate, the Clippers traded punches with the Kings until midway through the fourth quarter. At that point, the Clippers' 3-point attack was too much for the Sacramento team to overcome. The Clippers were 17 of 37 from behind the arc.
Chris Paul had a big game for the Clips scoring 30 points on 13/20 shooting (4/10 from deep) and adding 11 assists. Despite the better stat line, the real hero for the Clippers was veteran Hedo Turkoglu. Turk had his best game as a Clipper with 19 points - he had 5 3-pointers, including 3 in the final frame. His clutch shooting late sparked the rally that put Los Angeles ahead for good. It also didn't hurt that DeMarcus Cousins was sidelined for Sacramento.
The game opened with both teams very cold. Nearly two minutes passed before Blake Griffin scored the game's first points. Early on the Clippers looked out of sync on defense. The Kings were able to penetrate the lane with ease which led to a large disparity when it came to points in the paint, 26-10 Kings in the first half.
J.J. Redick played his usual role of firestarter. He shouldered most of the load for the Clippers early but had consistent help from Griffin and Chris Paul. All in all the first quarter was a solid one for Los Angeles.
The second quarter opened with Nate Robinson stealing the ball and going coast-to-coast for a lay-up. Unfortunately, that may have been the high point of the quarter. The majority of the Clippers shooters went cold. Redick stepped up to keep the Clippers in the game but the Kings were charging. The game was tied in the final seconds of the first half. Paul dribbled down the clock then drove for his patent pull-up jumper to give the Clips a 2-point lead going into intermission.
The Clippers played well in the third. After another slow start, the Clippers managed to stretch the lead to 10 points. This was largely due to the defensive play of DJ, who had 3 blocks in the quarter. At this point, CP3 was also beginning to pour it on. The Clippers ended the frame up 80-73.
All of the Clippers starters, save for J.J., started the 4th quarter on the bench. Needless to say, it didn't go well. The ragtag bunch struggled to make shots and the Kings quickly tied the game at 84. Doc responded by bringing his starters back at the 9 minute mark- this was the difference in the game.
The Clippers were clinging to a 1 point lead when Hedo opened the floodgates. His 3 put the Clippers up 90-86 and proved the be the harbinger of doom for the Kings. Blake got a block on the next play which led to a DJ dunk. This was bookended by another bucket from distance by Hedo. Redick added the dagger, an and-1 from deep that invoked Lawler's Law. The Kings managed to get it to single digits again but the Clips were never in danger of losing the game down the stretch.
This was an important win for Clippers as it allows them to gain on Portland, who lost to the Heat tonight, and keep pace with Dallas, who won against the magic earlier this evening. Next up for the Clippers, a home game against the Washington Wizards this Friday.