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Kings struggle without DeMarcus Cousins, who leaves loss to Clippers injured

Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin, center, is fouled by Sacramento Kings' Ben McLemore, bottom, as Kings' DeMarcus Cousins, left, watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin, center, is fouled by Sacramento Kings' Ben McLemore, bottom, as Kings' DeMarcus Cousins, left, watches during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, in Los Angeles. AP

The second quarter was problematic for the Kings on a couple fronts.

The Kings weren’t happy with being called for 13 fouls in the second quarter, which helped the Los Angeles Clippers pull ahead after trailing by 12 points.

The second quarter was also the last the team would see of DeMarcus Cousins, who left at halftime with a sore right Achilles’ tendon.

The Kings lost to the Clippers 114-109 on Saturday night at Staples Center.

Cousins is listed as day-to-day with his injury.

The Kings fell to 1-2 on the season, with both losses to the Clippers, who are 3-0.

“In general this is probably a tough team for us to play at this moment,” said Kings coach George Karl. “I think we’ve played them twice pretty well.”

Without Cousins, Karl started the second half with Rajon Rondo, Darren Collison, Rudy Gay, Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein.

The Kings fell behind by 12 without Cousins, but managed to get back in the game late.

In the fourth quarter, the Kings rallied from 12 down to take a 96-95 lead with 6:13 to play.

The whistles continued to favor the Clippers, and Collison committed a major mental error by intentionally fouling DeAndre Jordan, a notoriously poor free-throw shooter, resulting in a technical foul with less than two minutes to play while trailing 107-105.

Then Collison was called for a blocking foul on Chris Paul that the Kings vehemently disputed.

The Clippers scored three points on the possession for a 110-105 lead.

Then with 17.7 seconds left and down 110-107, Koufos was called for a foul on Blake Griffin after he’d plowed through Rajon Rondo.

“The fouls, referees, tough,” Karl said. “You should not expect any calls on the road. I thought both calls in the last minute of the game were tough calls.”

Rondo led the Kings with 21 points and eight assists. Gay had 20 points and Collison added 15 points and six assists.

“We stayed with it,” Rondo said. “We fought but still it’s a loss, we have to learn from it, watch film and continue to grow.”

In two attempts, the Kings have lacked an answer for Blake Griffin, who had 37 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two steals.

Griffin scored 33 points Wednesday in Sacramento.

Chris Paul had 17 points and 11 assists. DeAndre Jordan added 15 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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