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Los Angeles at Sacramento

Kings take early lead, never look back vs. Clippers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- For one of the rare times this season, the Sacramento Kings were discussing defense and the role it played in their latest victory.

Tyreke Evans scored 22 points to help the Kings beat the Clippers 97-92 on Sunday night. The Clippers shot 37 percent and the points allowed was a season low for Sacramento, which entered the game fourth worst in the NBA in points allowed (106.5).

The Kings took the lead midway through the first quarter and never trailed again in winning two straight home games for the first time since mid-December.

"We understand the need to become a good defensive team," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "We've had two good defensive performances in a row and I think three of the last five. If that can be a calling card as well as being an offensive team that's tough to guard, I think that we're taking good steps toward becoming a legitimate NBA team that can expect to win whenever we play."

The defense was crucial in a game where the offense tailed off in the second half when the Kings scored only 41 points. Sacramento, which led by 14 points at the half, converted only 16 of 24 free throws and was outrebounded 49-43.

Carl Landry scored 18 points, and Spencer Hawes had 16 points and nine rebounds for Sacramento. Omri Casspi added 12 points for the Kings, who committed just nine turnovers.

Chris Kaman had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers. Drew Gooden added 17 points, and Eric Gordon, Rasual Butler and Baron Davis each had 13.

"I think we took the first half off. I don't believe we're a good enough team to play the first half like that with poor energy," Clippers coach Kim Hughes said. "I thought we competed in the second half. I was disappointed in our bigs and I thought we turned the ball over way too many times [15]. I think we gave up 25 points on turnovers and we got six.

Landry scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and made two free throws with 11.6 seconds left to give Sacramento a 97-92 lead.

Butler's 3-pointer pulled the Clippers to 91-90 with 2:07 left. But on consecutive possessions, Evans ventured inside and came up with layups, the second one putting the Kings ahead 95-90 with 42.9 remaining. It was the only four points of the final quarter for a rookie who is accustomed to becoming the Kings go-to guy down the stretch.

"I like that situation, I like taking those big shots," Evans said.

The road continues to be a difficult place for the Clippers. They dropped their fifth straight and ninth in 10 games since Jan. 25.

"He [Evans] was tough and he put a lot of pressure on us defensively, attacking the basket" Gooden said. "It was a tough night defending him."

Hawes set the tone early with all 16 of his points coming in the first half. It was another strong game for the Kings center after his criticism of Westphal's rotation led to him not suiting up Tuesday night. Reconciled after a meeting with Westphal, Hawes was back in the starting lineup Friday night and responded with 15 points and 12 rebounds in a victory over Utah.

"I thought Spencer played a good complete game," Westphal said. "Even though in the second half he didn't score, I still thought that he was a big part of the win."

With the Kings playing uninspired and shooting 26 percent in the third quarter, the Clippers finally cut the lead under double figures. Kaman had eight points for Los Angeles, who outscored the Sacramento 26-20 and trailed 76-68 heading into the fourth.

Notes

  • The Kings closed the first quarter on a 20-4 run to take a 32-18 lead. The Clippers shot 33 percent and had five turnovers.
  • The Clippers are 3-2 under interim head coach Kim Hughes.
  • Evans scored nine points in the third quarter, but needed nine shots to do it.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Rookie Tyreke Evans continues his strong play, pouring in a game-high 22 points.  (Getty Images)
Rookie Tyreke Evans continues his strong play, pouring in a game-high 22 points. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
L.A. Clippers (24-35) 1824262492
Sacramento (20-39) «3224202197
LAC:C. Kaman 18 Pts
LAC:C. Kaman 11 Reb
LAC:B. Davis 8 Ast
SAC:T. Evans 22 Pts
SAC:S. Hawes 9 Reb
SAC:B. Udrih 6 Ast
Players of the Game
SacramentoLos Angeles

T. Evans

C. Kaman
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
225318110
Los Angeles
R. Butler, SG415-90-051213
E. Gordon, SG374-134-431113
B. Davis, PG355-172-468313
D. Gooden, PF355-97-780617
C. Kaman, C347-154-5110218
T. Outlaw, SF223-105-581111
D. Jordan, C160-23-65033
S. Blake, PG131-40-02202
C. Smith, PF71-40-01102
B. Skinner, PFDid Not Play
B. Brown, PGDid Not Play
S. Novak, SFDid Not Play
M. Collins, PGDid Not Play
B. Griffin, PFDid Not Play
Totals 31-8325-3149141892
 37.3%80.6% 
Sacramento
S. Hawes, C418-160-092316
C. Landry, PF416-136-882418
T. Evans, PG379-214-853322
B. Udrih, PG374-110-03639
O. Casspi, SF294-113-461112
I. Udoka, SG201-20-05113
F. Garcia, SG183-80-02237
S. May, PF70-22-22042
D. Greene, SF63-40-01017
J. Dorsey, PF40-01-22001
J. Brockman, PFDid Not Play
A. Nocioni, SFDid Not Play
D. McGuire, PFDid Not Play
J. Thompson, PFDid Not Play
Totals 38-8816-2443172397
 43.2%66.7% 
Other Games
Pho 110 Final
SA 113
Den 89 Final
LAL 95
Mil 102 Final
Atl 106
Wash 89 Final
NJ 85
Mia 80 Final
Orl 96
Tor 99 Final
OKC 119
NO 100 Final
Dal 108