POSTGAME REPORT


(21-12)
108

(13-22)
100
Game #33
Power Balance Pavilion | Sacramento, CA
March 1, 2012 | 7:00 PM (PST)
TV: PRIME TICKET
RADIO: KFWB 980 AM
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TEAM 1 2 3 4 FINAL
28 29 28 23 108
25 32 22 21 100
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  • FRIDAY
  • MARCH 2
  • PHOENIX, AZ
  • WILLIAMS AND PAUL TAKE OVER IN FOURTH, CLIPPERS PULL AWAY FROM KINGS
    - ERIC PATTEN @ericpatten
    For three quarters it was a game of runs. Then Chris Paul and Mo Williams took over.

    After the Kings and Clippers exchanged momentum swings for most of three quarters, the Clippers’ backcourt tandem combined to score the final 17 fourth-quarter points for L.A. as they outlasted host Sacramento, 108-100, to win the opener of their six-game road trip.

    It was the eighth win in the last 11 road games for the Clippers (21-12), who will play away from Staples Center five more times in the next eight days.

    “It was very important [to win game one of the trip],” Paul said. “I always tell the guys that we can’t win them all without winning the first one.”

    Paul was a major part of what was arguably one of the Clippers’ most complete offensive efforts of the season. They had 30 assists to only nine turnovers, made 12 of their 23 3-point shots (52.2%), and, led by Paul’s 22 points, had six players finish in double figures.

    Blake Griffin had 14 points with nine rebounds, Randy Foye 16, and Caron Butler, who snapped out of a five-game shooting slump, had 13 on 5-of-11 shooting. Additionally, the bench managed 41 points, a game after combining for just 11 points in a double-digit loss to the Timberwolves.

    “The bench came in nice for us tonight,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “The Kings were able to put some good runs together, but we were able to respond. Mo came in and made some big shots for us as well.”

    Williams erupted in the fourth quarter, scoring 12 of his 18 points, including consecutive 3-pointers off assists from Paul. Newly signed forward Bobby Simmons chipped in 13 points.

    “[Simmons] was great tonight,” Griffin said. “Not only knocking down shots, but grabbing rebounds and getting to loose balls.”

    After going scoreless against the Timberwolves, Simmons was a bit of a revelation on Thursday. He nailed three 3-pointers and seemed to shoot with a confidence that was absent 48 hours earlier.

    “They brought me in to shoot the ball and make plays,” Simmons said. “I am feeling more comfortable now.”

    Prior to the fourth quarter, the game appeared to be up for grabs. The Clippers extended an early second-quarter lead to 40-30 with eight consecutive points from Kenyon Martin, but the Kings responded with a 22-8 run behind DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton.

    Thanks to 13 points from Cousins and 57.5% shooting as a team, Sacramento (12-23) pulled even at halftime, despite L.A.’s 18 assists to only two turnovers. And even after the Clippers took a nine-point lead early in the third quarter, the Kings pulled even again on a dunk by Jason Thompson and a 7-footer by Thornton.

    But things quickly unraveled for Sacramento.

    Griffin drew a fourth foul on Cousins, who had a game-high 23 points, with a charging call and the Clippers put together a 9-0 run, capped by an acrobatic layup by Paul. By the fourth quarter, with Williams knocking down shots from outside and Paul creating havoc off the dribble, the Clippers’ lead swelled to as large as 19, playing the final 2:34 with Paul, Griffin, and the rest of the starters on the bench.

    NOTES

    The Clippers were two assists away from their season high (32 at Washington)… It was the first time in 15 games the Clippers were out-rebounded by their opponent. Sacramento 40 rebounds to the Clippers 33… Second-year center Hassan Whiteside scored his first NBA basket on a dunk in the final minute of the game… Paul extended his consecutive steals streak to 37 games.


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