Notebook: Clippers 116, Kings 81



Posted Dec 2, 2012 1:55 AM

By Dan Arritt, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Seven players scored in double figures for the Clippers and the reserves matched the starters with a season-best 58 points, leading the way in the 116-81 victory Saturday night against the visiting Kings at Staples Center.

THE STAT: After averaging 28.1 points in three straight losses between Nov. 23-26, the bench for the Clippers (10-6) is back to filling up the score sheet. Led by a team-high 17 points from Jamal Crawford, 14 from Eric Bledsoe and 12 from Matt Barnes, the reserves helped put the game away in the second quarter, giving them the opportunity to play the entire fourth. L.A.'s bench came into the game averaging 38.9 points, sixth-best in the NBA.

QUOTABLE: "Bled was very active, Jamal [Crawford] was consistent. I thought Ronny [Turiaf] gave us some good minutes. The starters got us off to that good start and everyone fed off of that."

-- Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro

TURNING POINT: Playing without starting guard Tyreke Evans (bruised left knee), the team's second-leading scorer, the Kings (4-12) were in trouble right from the start. They scored the first basket of the second quarter to cut the deficit to nine, but Barnes, Bledsoe, Crawford and Turiaf combined to score all the points in a 16-5 run that put Sacramento down by 22 points with 6:30 still remaining in the first half. The Kings never got closer than 17 the rest of the way.

HOT: Crawford has scored in double figures in 23 consecutive games dating back to last season. He has at least one 3-pointer in the last 17 games. As for the Kings, Marcus Thornton stepped into the starting lineup for Evans and tied a career high with six 3-pointers.on nine attempts. He finished with a team-high 20 points.

NOT: Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins seems to be quickly falling out of favor with coach Keith Smart. He played a season-low 18 minutes, sitting out the entire second quarter even though he had just one foul. The team's leading scorer coming in (16.6) finished with eight points on 3-for-9 shooting, putting him at 17-for-48 (35.4 percent) over the last three games.

QUOTABLE II: "I just didn't like what was going on out on the floor, so I decided to go in a different direction. By the time I was ready to put [Cousins] back in, the game was already out of control."

-- Keith Smart

GOOD MOVE: Getting veteran guard Chauncey Billups back in the starting lineup is quickly paying dividends. Billups, who was out for nine months after tearing his Achilles tendon last February, was the only starter who didn't score in double figures. He finished with six points, but his presence seems to be working in other ways. In the two games since he has returned, the Clippers have combined for just 15 turnovers. The five they had against the Kings was their lowest total since 2008. The Kings scored just two points off those turnovers, compared to the 27 the Clippers scored off 17 giveaways by Sacramento.

QUOTABLE III: "You can see the leadership and demeanor that Chauncey [Billups] brings. You can just see it out there."

-- Vinny Del Negro

BAD MOVE: Clippers guard Willie Green, who started the first 14 games while Billups was on the mend, was the only player for L.A. who didn't get into the game despite chants of "Willie, Willie" from the crowd in the final minutes.

NOTABLE: The Clippers held a moment of silence for the team's public-address announcer, David Courtney, who died Thursday at age 56. The starters for L.A. were also introduced via a recording of Courtney's voice from an earlier game. Eric Smith, the PA announcer for the Dodgers, took Courtney's seat. ... The Clippers are 8-0 this season when their opponent shoots 43 percent or less from the field. ... Clippers reserve forward Lamar Odom scored a season-high six points to go along with five rebounds and five assists. ... The victory against the Kings was the largest for the starting five of Billups, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan.

UP NEXT: For the Clippers, Monday @ Utah, Wednesday vs. Dallas, Saturday vs. Phoenix. For the Kings, Wednesday vs. Toronto, Friday vs. Orlando, Saturday @ Portland.