- Associated Press - Saturday, November 19, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A veteran team that sees the big picture, the Los Angeles Clippers were a bit subdued following their latest victory.

Blake Griffin had 29 points, seven rebounds and six assists as the Clippers built a large lead and then held off the Sacramento Kings 121-115 on Friday night.

The Clippers (11-2) have won eight of nine and own the NBA’s best record. They led by 26 points in the opening half and are unbeaten in six road games this season. But no one in the Los Angeles locker room felt good about letting the struggling Kings back in the game.

“A win is a win, but it’s kind of frustrating,” Chris Paul said. “We expect more from each other.”

Trailing by 19 points entering the fourth quarter, the Kings cut the margin to 117-115 on Matt Barnes’ free throw with 2:03 remaining. Los Angeles responded with a dunk by DeAndre Jordan before Paul made two free throws to push the lead back to six.

Sacramento never scored again.

“They went small and it felt like they scored every time down,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “It felt like we were in the North Carolina four-corner offense. It’s great to win, but we want to be better than that.”

DeMarcus Cousins helped fuel the comeback with 38 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Kings.

Barnes had 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, when Sacramento outscored Los Angeles 30-17.

“Once again, we’re just waiting at the last minute to play with energy,” Cousins said. “It’s all fun and exciting in the end, but these games are going to continue to get harder for us if we wait until the last quarter.”

Ty Lawson added 18 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Kings, and Darren Collison scored 16. Barnes had 10 fourth-quarter points and made four of Sacramento’s 10 3-pointers to finish with 15.

J.J. Redick hit six 3s and scored 22 of his 26 points in the first half for the Clippers. Jordan had 16 points and 12 rebounds, Austin Rivers finished with 12 points and Paul added 11 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.

Redick, who connected on his first six 3-point attempts, has made a 3 in 69 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NBA.

“J.J. got it going (in the first quarter) and we did whatever we could to get it back to him,” Rivers said.

It was the fourth straight loss for the Kings. They are 2-4 at home, where they face Toronto, Oklahoma City and Houston the next three games.

Kings coach Dave Joerger experimented with a smaller lineup that featured Lawson and Collison in the backcourt.

“I’m going to play small going forward. I’ve seen enough,” Joerger said. “DeMarcus is going to play center. I don’t know who else is going to play with him, but it gives us more zip.”


Clippers: Los Angeles shot 5 of 18 in the fourth quarter, yet still wound up shooting 52.6 percent overall. … Playing his first game of the season, Paul Pierce made his first two shots, a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter. … Paul missed his first five shots and didn’t have a basket until late in the third.

Kings: Lawson hit a 3 and converted a free throw for a four-point play in the first quarter. … Taking turns guarding Griffin in the first quarter, Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein combined for five fouls. Griffin made seven of eight free throws. … Cousins made a shot from near halfcourt to end the first half.


Los Angeles enjoyed its most productive half of the season, shooting 70 percent and leading 73-54 at the break. The Clippers had 17 assists and went 10 of 13 from 3-point range. They got superior play from their starters - and the reserves were productive as well, contributing 23 points.

“That first half was beautiful. I don’t know if we can play any better than that,” Rivers said.


Griffin was too much for the Kings, shooting 7 of 15 from the field and making 15 of 16 free throws. He also had two steals and a block in just under 37 minutes.


Clippers: Los Angeles hosts Chicago on Saturday night.

Kings: NBA scoring leader DeMar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors visit Sacramento on Sunday night.

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