Clippers top Kings for 56th win
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES — The Clippers tuned up for the playoffs with a clinic on scoring in transition, whether it was going coast-to-coast for layups or ferocious dunks.
The display produced a 117-101 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, giving the Clippers their franchise record-tying 56th win of the regular season. Blake Griffin had 27 points and nine assists, DeAndre Jordan had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Chris Paul added 17 points and 10 assists.
“We’re still playing for something,” Paul said. “We can keep building confidence on defense. We’re at our best when we’re running and getting stops.”
J.J. Redick had 13 points and Matt Barnes scored 12 in helping the Clippers improve to 33-7 at Staples Center, breaking the franchise record for home victories in a season.
“When we got stops, got out and moved the ball from side to side, we were able to get what we wanted,” Griffin said. “That’s the key for us, just playing our offense and not letting what they do dictate our game.”
Los Angeles completed a season sweep of the Kings and has won seven straight against them at home.
“I just hated our defense,” Sacramento coach Mike Malone said.
DeMarcus Cousins had his seventh straight double-double with 32 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Kings, who lost their fifth in a row in their last road game of the season. Rudy Gay scored 16 points, and former Clipper Reggie Evans had 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Cousins and Ben McLemore combined to score 24 of the Kings’ 32 points in the third quarter, including their last 20. McLemore hit consecutive 3-pointers, the second one just beating the clock at the end of the period, to leave the Kings trailing 85-79 going into the fourth.
“We couldn’t get any stops,” Malone said. “Defensively, they just got whatever they wanted. It was just layup after layup after layup.”
McLemore finished with 14 points, hitting all six of his free throws, before getting his second technical and being ejected with 10:51 left in the game.
“That’s the crazy thing about it,” he said. “I’ve never gotten kicked out of a game in my life.”
The Kings closed within two on a three-point play by Cousins in the fourth. The Clippers answered with a 12-2 run to go up 103-91, capped by Jamal Crawford’s back-to-back 3-pointers. He landed in the lap of courtside fans after the first one.
“Those two 3s Mal hit were backbreakers,” Paul said.
Crawford returned after missing five straight games with a sore left Achilles’ tendon. He finished with 10 points in 20 minutes.
“I felt good, rusty obviously, but my teammates did a good job getting me easy looks,” he said.
Los Angeles outscored the Kings 25-5 on fastbreak points and 54-42 in the paint.
“When a team lives in your paint, especially a good team like they are, you’re going to have a hard time beating them,” Malone said.
NOTES: Clippers F Danny Granger sat out his seventh straight game because of a strained left hamstring. … Kings G Isaiah Thomas missed his 10th straight game with a right quad contusion. … Sacramento fell to 11-30 on the road and 7-19 against the West away from home. … The Kings topped the 100-point mark for the first time in five games.