Kings defense can’t handle L.A.’s Crawford in loss

It’s been a season-long problem, but opposing guards have had their ways with Kings this season.

This time, Kings coach Michael Malone accepted the blame for what another guard having a big night did to the Kings.

This time it was Jamal Crawford who feasted on the Kings’ defense with season highs of 31 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds to send the Kings to their third consecutive loss, 104-98 to the Los Angeles Clippers in overtime Friday night at Sleep Train Arena.

The Clippers were without their leader, All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who sat out because of a sore right hamstring.

That didn’t matter with Crawford stepping up.

“With Chris Paul not playing, I knew that was going to be his green light to take over the game,” Malone said. “Our guys played so hard that I put this loss on me. I have to do a better job of not allowing one player like Jamal Crawford to win the game for them. ... . Our players need help from me, and I did a poor job of giving them a game plan to kind of calm Jamal down, so that’s definitely on me.”

Crawford came off the bench to direct the Clippers (12-5), and the Kings (4-10) had no answer.

In two games in Sacramento this season, Crawford is averaging 24.5 points.

“Since I’ve been here, it’s just (Crawford is scoring a lot) when he plays us,” said guard Greivis Vasquez. “I don’t know what he’s got against us, but every time he comes here, he just goes off. We should have done a better job as a team playing defense on him. He scored way too many points.”

Crawford had 13 points and five assists in the fourth quarter and overtime to keep the Kings from upsetting the Clippers.

Malone said that goes on him.

“Every game you go in and you have a game plan,” Malone said. “Then you have to make adjustments as the game takes on its personality. I did a poor job of helping our players stop Jamal Crawford (Friday). He’s a great scorer, and he’s been that way his entire career. That’s where I have to do a much better job of helping our guys out.”

Even with Crawford’s play, the Kings were able to stay close and force overtime after trailing by five with 1:51 to play.

Ben McLemore tied the score 94-94 with two free throws with 17.7 seconds to play. Crawford missed a jumper at the end of regulation that would have given the Clippers the win.

The Kings were in position to tie the score after Vasquez made a leaning 3-pointer off the glass with the shot clock running down with 1:27 left in regulation.

Derrick Williams made his Kings debut following Tuesday’s trade from Minnesota that sent forward Luc Mbah a Moute to the Timberwolves.

Williams started at small forward and had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists

“We went out and got him for a reason,” Malone said. “I thought he did a very good job and he’ll get better as we get more practices and more games as a Sacramento King. He did everything we were hoping for because I know he’s only going to get better as he plays.”

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 25 points and nine rebounds, but the Kings hurt themselves by giving up 18 points off 16 turnovers.

John Salmons scored a season-high 14 points off the bench for the Kings. Sacramento needed that because Isaiah Thomas (five points) scored in single digits for the second consecutive game after scoring in double figures the first 12 games of the season.

Clippers center DeAndre Jordan had a career-high nine blocked shots to go with 10 points and 15 rebounds. Blake Griffin added 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Darren Collison scored 15 points starting in place of Paul.