The Kings struggling on defense is not uncommon. It proved costly again.
The Kings gave up 72 first-half points, matching the most they’ve allowed in a half, and fell to the Los Angeles Clippers 121-115 on Thursday night at Golden 1 Center.
The Clippers’ Lou Williams led all scorers with 30 points. Montrezl Harrell posted a season-high 25 points off the bench and Blake Griffin had 18 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. Los Angeles played the second half without All-Star center DeAndre Jordan (ankle).
Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Kings (13-28) with 22 points, a new career high for the rookie. George Hill had 21 points and Zach Randolph scored 16 for Sacramento, which has lost its last three games.
The Kings did not lead until the fourth quarter, but turnovers (16 for the game) hurt any chance at a victory.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
The little things add up
The Kings’ defense was bad most of the night, but they still had a chance to win. However, a couple of missed free throws by Hill (who otherwise had a good game) and a late turnover by Kosta Koufos were costly.
Koufos’ late steal with the Kings down 117-115 put the team in good position, but his pass was stolen by Tyrone Wallace, to took the turnover in for a dunk and a 119-115 lead with 10.9 seconds to play.
Another game, yet another season high
Harrell’s previous season high of 22 points came Dec. 26 against the Kings in Los Angeles.
It’s one thing for star players to beat you, but to give up big numbers to stars while also allowing lesser-known players to shine is tough to overcome.
How will Saturday’s first half look?
The Clippers now have two of the three highest-scoring halves the Kings have allowed this season and have topped 70 points in the first half in the last two meetings. The teams meet for the final time Saturday, so the Kings better figure out something to slow the Clippers down.
Could the Clippers score 80 in a half? If they can score 43 in a quarter (the most the Kings have allowed in a quarter this season) on Thursday, it’s not unrealistic to think Los Angeles could light up the Kings one more time.