Road Reaction: Los Angeles Clippers 116, Sacramento Kings 81

Updated: 11:11 pm PT

The Sacramento Kings struggled early, they struggled late and they struggled every minute in between.  With Tyreke Evans sitting out his second straight game with a bum knee, the Los Angeles Clippers punished the visiting Kings in a 35-point laugher at Staples Center, by the score of 116-81.

Notes and Analysis

  • There isn’t much of a silver lining to this one.  This was by far the Kings’ worst performance of the season.  The Kings were outscored by 11 in the first quarter, 12 in the second, five in the third and six in the fourth.
  • Marcus Thornton started off slow, but got going late.  The former LSU product led the Kings with 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting from behind the arc.  With Evans out, Thornton has regained his starting position, even if it is short-lived.
  • While most of his teammates looked lethargic and uninspired, Jason Thompson did his best to stay in this one.  The Kings starting power forward finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes of action.  JT hustled like he does every game, but this is a team sport and Thompson’s teammates forgot they had a game tonight.
  • James Johnson is quickly falling out of Smart’s rotation.  After starting the first nine games of the season, Johnson has played a total of 30 minutes in the Kings’ last three games.  He is shooting just 36.5 percent from the field and losing his playing time to John Salmons, Francisco Garcia and tonight, Travis Outlaw.
  • Over his last three games, Aaron Brooks is averaging just eight points and 2.3 assists per game as the Kings starting point guard.  While Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette fight it out for the back-up job, Brooks may be opening a door for one of those two young players to dislodge him from the starting line-up.
  • Stat of the Night:  Although he went 0-for-6 from the field and scored just one point, Jimmer Fredette‘s plus/minus for the game was only -3 in 16 minutes of action.  Not bad when you consider the game was a 35-point massacre.

Three answers to three questions pondered

1. Will the Clippers fresh legs be too much for the Kings?

Something was too much for the Kings tonight.  Fresh legs, desire, skill – the Clippers dominated the Kings in just about every tangible and intangible way possible.  It’s a good thing that the flight home is a short one.

2. Will Blake Griffin get under the skin of DeMarcus Cousins?

I’m pretty sure Griffin had no idea that Cousins was on the floor tonight.  Cousins is struggling and he needs to find his game quickly.  The Kings big man finished with just eight points and six rebounds in the blowout.

3. Who gets the primary minutes at backup point guard: Jimmer Fredette or Isaiah Thomas?

Isaiah Thomas was the first point guard off the bench for coach Smart, which may have answered the question of who was going to backup Aaron Brooks if the game didn’t get out of hand so quickly.  Thomas finished with 14 points in 17 minutes, but it was Jimmer Fredette who provided a spark.  Although he went 0-for-6 from the field, Jimmer did a nice job of breaking down the defense and opening up Thornton for open shots.  He finished with just one point, but four assists, zero turnovers and one very nice block.

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