FINAL | December 21, 2012 | STAPLES Center, Los Angeles CA

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By Rafael Guerrero

LOS ANGELES–It took nearly 40 years, but the Los Angeles Clippers finally made history Friday night when they defeated the Sacramento Kings, 97-85, Friday night at Staples Center.

It was the team’s 12th consecutive victory, setting a new franchise record and breaking the old mark set by the Bob McAdoo-led Buffalo Braves during the 1974-75 season.

“It’s cool to be a part of it, but at the same time we want to be much better than that,” forward Blake Griffin said. “To be a part of, it’s cool. We have a lot of work to do. We want to be winning games at the end of the season. That’s what counts.”


This was the eighth time in the team’s last 12 games that the Clippers (20-6) have beaten a team by at least 12 points. Their current winning streak also matches the longest in the NBA this season, a mark set by the Oklahoma City Thunder. That streak was snapped Thursday night by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“It’s very exciting, 12 in a row,” Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said. “We just have to keep the streak going, but not get over excited about it. We need to continue to build on it and try to take it one game at a time.”

The Clippers led by double figures for the much of the game, but the Kings (8-18) made separate runs in the second half to cut it to single digits. They outscored the Clippers 20-12 in the first nine minutes of the third quarter to cut the deficit to six.

The Clippers regained their double-digit lead to start the fourth quarter but the Kings again knocked it down to seven after a 3-pointer by Isaiah Thomas with 6:50 left. The Clippers responded, outscoring the Kings 17-12 to close out the quarter and secure the win.

Difference Maker: Griffin. The superstar power forward was active on both ends of the floor and nearly had a double-double by halftime. He crashed the offensive glass in the second quarter, grabbing two offensive rebounds. He also set the tone early in the first quarter with his jumper, hitting three shots from beyond 19 feet in the span of just over two minutes.

When the Kings cut the Clippers lead to seven in the fourth quarter, Griffin checked back into the game and helped the team right the ship. He grabbed three rebounds and had one steal in the last 6:50 to help the Clippers close it out.

Moment of Truth: With a little more than seven minutes left in the second quarter, backup guard Eric Bledsoe produced one of the best highlights of the season for the Clippers. After Bledsoe threw an errant pass that was picked off by Jimmer Fredette, the third-year guard put his running shoes on and chased down the play and smashed Thomas Robinson’s dunk attempt against the backboard so ferociously that the ball ricocheted all the way out to half court where Jamal Crawford scooped it up.

“I turned the ball over,” Bledsoe said. “I feel like if I turn the ball over that I can’t compound my mistake. I’ve got to get back on defense to try and get it back and that’s the play I came up with.”

Crawford then fed Ronny Turiaf in transition who hammered home a titanic two-handed slam to give the Clippers a 43-28 lead.

Stat Line of the Day: Griffin. He recorded his 11th double-double of the season, scoring 21 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. He also had two impressive assists. He hit Matt Barnes with a perfect underhanded pass as Barnes was cutting into the lane for an easy layup in the second quarter and then found Willie Green on a backdoor cut in the third quarter.

More Stats: 

Paul. He had his 12th double-double of the season with a team-high 24 points and 13 assists. He went 7-for-13 from the field and scored six points in the fourth quarter thanks to two 3-pointers. He was 5-for-7 from beyond the arc for the game. Paul also had five rebounds and five steals.

Barnes. He led the bench with 13 points, seven of those coming in the fourth quarter. He added five rebounds and was one of three Clippers with three blocked shots.

Fredette. The former AP College Player of the Year starred for the Kings on Friday night, scoring a team-high 16 points on 4-for-10 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench. He was 2-for-3 from 3-point range and 6-of-7 from the free throw line.

Hot: The Clippers defense. They held the Kings to just 41.8% shooting and clogged the passing lanes all night. The Clippers, who lead the league in steals per game, recorded 13 steals as a team and had countless more tipped balls that disrupted the Kings offensive flow.

Not: DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings franchise center had another rough outing against the Clippers. Nearly three weeks after failing to score in double figures against the Clippers, Cousins scored just nine points on Friday night in 20 first-half minutes. He did not come out of the locker room for the second half due to a coach’s decision. The Kings outscored the Clippers 46-44 in the second half without their man in the middle.

Quotables:

On the 12-game winning streak:

Turiaf: “It’s definitely something special. We have a bunch of guys that just care about each other and believe in each other.”

On Paul and Griffin scoring 20+ points:

Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro: “That’s what All-Stars do. I expect that from them, they expect it, their teammates do. They’re more than capable of doing it. That’s what stars in this league do. They had to finish the game out for us, make some plays down the stretch. You win and lose as a team, and different guys are going to have different nights.”

On the play of Paul:

Fredette: “He’s a great player. Obviously some nights he’s going to go off like that. He shot the ball really well and got his teammates involved and just played basketball tonight. He was the one that really was key in this victory.”

Notes: Tyreke Evans (sore left knee) and Francisco Garcia (back spasms) did not play for the Kings…This is the second time the Clippers have defeated the Kings during their 12-game winning streak, dispatching them 116-81 on Dec. 1…Lamar Odom received a technical foul in the second quarter. Barnes was hit with a technical foul in the fourth quarter, his eighth of the season… The Clippers sellout streak reached 65 consecutive games… The Clippers lost the turnover battle for only the sixth time all season and the first time since Nov. 23 in Brooklyn. They coughed it up 20 times while the Kings had 17 turnovers.



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