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Win Streak Ends In 110-103 Loss To Kings

Rowan Kavner

Score: SAC 110 – LAC 103

LOS ANGELES – At any other point during the Clippers’ 10-game winning streak, Paul Pierce’s late fourth quarter 3-point attempt likely would’ve gone through.

But eventually the Clippers (26-14), who boasted the NBA’s third-ranked defense and made more 3-pointers or shot a higher percentage from long range than every team they faced during their 10-game winning streak, would go through a lapse at some point.

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That’s what happened Saturday night in a 110-103 loss to the Kings (17-23), which snapped the Clippers’ double-digit winning streak, as Sacramento went 52 percent from 3-point range and the Clippers shot just 39.6 percent from the floor.

The Clippers trailed by nine points three different times in the fourth quarter. Resilience hasn’t been a problem for the shorthanded Clippers the last few weeks, though, even playing Saturday for the second straight game without both Blake Griffin (quad) and DeAndre Jordan (pneumonia).

After going down, 96-87, the defense ramped up for one final effort, helping the Clippers get the deficit down to three with a minute left. Cole Aldrich then stole a pass, and at the other end Pierce got a look in a clutch situation – exactly what the Clippers wanted when he was brought to the team – but the shot fell off the mark on a night the Clippers hit just 33.3 percent from of their 3-point shots.

Cole Aldrich, who started again in Jordan’s absence at center, posted 19 points and 10 rebounds. J.J. Redick added 22 points, while Jamal Crawford scored 20 points off the bench.

It was that second quarter where things started to turn for the Clippers, who had control through the majority of the first half, leading by six points when the Kings responded with a 17-2 run to take a nine-point lead, their largest of the game. Paul only played 27 minutes, finishing with 15 points and seven assists.

Key Moment: The Clippers led, 47-41, midway through the second quarter. Then Josh Smith, who had provided a spark, came out of the game. Not long after, Crawford and Paul also went to the bench. A 15-point swing during that stretch put the Kings in the driver’s seat. The Clippers cut the deficit to four points by halftime, but they wouldn’t lead again the rest of the night.

Clippers Star: J.J. Redick – It marked the second straight time Redick scored at least 22 points against the Kings. On a night the Clippers struggled from deep, Redick was his normal self, going 5-for-9 from behind the arc and scoring 22 points.

Kings Star: DeMarcus Cousins – He was going to be a handful against a Clippers lineup playing without its power forward or center. Cousins finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, although Aldrich and the Clippers did better against the center as they game went on. Cousins scored 10 of his points in the first quarter.

X-Factor: Omri Casspi – He seemed to be open all night, and he made the Clippers pay. Casspi went 6-for-9 from the floor, doing most of his damage behind the arc, where he went 5-for-8, finishing with 17 points. Casspi and Darren Collison each had 17 points off the bench.

Quotes:

Doc Rivers – “It’s a make-miss league, and today we couldn’t make open shots. We scored 103, shot 39 percent, and overall I didn’t mind some of the offensive possessions. If you look at the layups and the wide open 3s, we missed a lot of shots.”

Chris Paul – “They made shots, they moved the ball. We knew coming into the game they were a high-scoring team, and we never slowed them down.”

Jamal Crawford – “You watch film and you correct it. Tonight, they had it both ways – they’d get layups and 3s. Usually, you want to take away one or the other.”

Notes: Blake Griffin missed his 10th straight game (partially torn quad tendon) ... DeAndre Jordan missed his second straight game (pneumonia) … Paul Pierce became the fifth active player to reach the 45,000-minutes mark for his career … Crawford had 14 points at the half … The loss marked the first time the Clippers lost (previously 5-0) when Crawford scores at least 13 points in either half … The 13 3-pointers for the Kings were the most the Clippers have allowed since Nov. 19 against the Warriors, when they allowed 17 … The Clippers play again Monday against the Rockets …

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