Chris Paul scores 40 as Los Angeles Clippers light up Sacramento Kings

By Rick Hurd, The Sports Xchange   |   Feb. 27, 2016 at 1:57 AM
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Chris Paul sat with his ankles in ice, his thigh wrapped in ice, and wrapping around his right arm. A variety of minor ailments plague the Los Angeles Clippers guard these days, but nothing quite so painful to keep him from the lineup.

Instead, most of the pain Friday was felt by the Sacramento Kings.

Paul lit up Sacramento for a season-best 40 points, and the Clippers bid Sleep Train Arena adieu in typical style with a 117-107 victory. Los Angeles closed out their run at Sacramento's outgoing home with six consecutive victories.

Newly acquired forward Jeff Green added 22 points for Los Angeles, and the Clippers improved to 21-7 without injured forward Blake Griffin. They also moved to 13-3 on the road since Christmas, the best road mark in the NBA over that time.

They owed the latest victory to their eight-time All-Star. Paul torched the Kings on 13-for-20 shooting and added 13 assists and eight rebounds. Paul posted his fifth career 30-point game against Sacramento and scored 13 of them during a 34-11 Los Angeles blitz to close the third quarter.

He did it despite an undisclosed right arm injury the guard said he suffered in Wednesday's loss at Denver. He also has suffered through a sore left calf and bruised left thigh recently.

"Once you throw the ball up, everything else goes out the window," he said. "It's just play."

Paul assisted on three of Green's 3-pointers, two of them during a 20-0 Los Angeles run in the third quarter that was part of the period-ending blitz.

"It was defense, straight defense," Paul said. "Me and (center DeAndre Jordan) talked about it at halftime. We had to set the tone, so I tried to start picking up Darren Collison earlier. ... They started feeling us a bit more and that sort of fed our offense."

Guard J.J. Reddick scored six of his 16 points during that span as the Clippers took Sacramento's 72-64 lead and turned into an 84-72 Los Angeles advantage.

The run seemed to shake Los Angeles out of its first-half cobwebs. Sacramento knocked down 51 percent of its shots in the first half en route to a 67-64 lead.

"I'm not sure we even had a deflection in the first half," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "As much as anything, I thought (Paul) won the game early for us, because early on, he was really the only guy we had who was competing on a winning level. In the second half, we had other guys, too."

Center DeMarcus Cousins scored 26 points, pulled 15 rebounds and added nine assists for Sacramento. But the Kings (24-33) played without starting guard and NBA assists leader Rajon Rondo and lost their second straight following a three-game winning streak.

"Typical Clippers game," Cousins said. "Typical Clippers game. (They) manipulate the game. Manipulate the game."

Rondo sat out with pain in his right thumb that apparently increased Wednesday, a day after his 18-assist effort in Sacramento's loss to San Antonio. He is questionable to play in Sacramento's home game against Oklahoma City on Monday.

The Kings led 72-64, when Reddick knocked down a jumper. Kings forward Quincy Acy was hit with a technical foul on the next possession, Paul knocked down the free throw and the Clippers were off to the races.

"It's tough. You know he's going to figure it out," Curry said of Paul. "We did a good job early, but you have to change your looks, and we weren't able to do that."

Curry scored 19 points in 26 minutes for Sacramento, and made three of four 4-pointers. Forward Rudy Gay added 18 points, and guard Darren Collison, making a rare start, also scored 18 for Sacramento.

NOTES: Clippers F Paul Pierce missed the game because of an undisclosed family matter. Pierce's status for the Clippers' home game against Brooklyn on Monday is uncertain. ... Kings G Darren Collison made his fifth start of the season in place of injured G Rajon Rondo (thumb). Last season, Collison started all 45 games he played before suffering a season-ending injury. ... F Quincy Acy, coming off a 15-point night against San Antonio, has started all four of Sacramento's games since the All-Star break. His presence pushed rookie C Willie Cauley-Stein to the bench. Cauley-Stein, fourth among NBA rookies in blocked shots, averaged 18.3 minutes in the first three games since the switch.

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