Clippers 98, Kings 91
LOS ANGELES (AP)
''I would've rather stayed on the kiddie ride,'' Blake Griffin said.
Thanks to Eric Gordon, the Clippers' whipsaw ride ended smoothly when he hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 47 seconds left to win 98-91 on Monday night and end a two-game skid.
''When we have a lead like that we can't let it slip,'' Griffin said.
Gordon scored 29 points, Ryan Gomes added 17 points and Griffin had 13 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. The Clippers trailed by four with 2 1/2 minutes to play, but Gomes and Gordon combined to score nine straight, with Gordon's 3 giving them a 94-91 lead.
''It's good to get over the hump,'' Gordon said. ''They just cut it down so quickly. That was just a crazy transition.''
Omri Casspi had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Pooh Jeter had all 11 of his points in the fourth for the Kings, who lost their eighth in a row and 14th in 15 games. Tyreke Evans added 16 points, DeMarcus Cousins and Carl Landry had 15 each, and Samuel Dalembert had 11 rebounds for Sacramento.
''It's another tough loss,'' Cousins said. ''The effort's there, but each quarter we've got to finish out strong. Every game there's a quarter where we let the game get away and that's where we get beat.''
The Kings trailed by 17 three times in the third quarter, but they dominated the first seven minutes of the fourth in a matchup of the Western Conference's two worst teams.
Sacramento scored 12 unanswered points to open the fourth, capped by Casspi's 3-pointer that drew the Kings within four. They twice got within two on free throws by Jeter before tying it at 85 on a layup by Casspi. He got fouled and made the free throw to give the Kings their first lead since early in the second quarter.
Evans followed with a fast-break layup to keep Sacramento ahead 88-85. Gordon was in foul trouble in the fourth, but he grabbed a key steal and scored on a driving dunk to draw the Clippers within one with just under three minutes to play. Evans' 3-pointer with 2:36 to play was the Kings' last basket.
''It's like a lot of our losses - either we're making a comeback or we're playing great for the start and at the end of the game, we just can't close it,'' Casspi said.
The Clippers' Baron Davis left in the fourth with a sore left hamstring. He returned to the lineup last week after being out since Nov. 9 because of a sore left knee.
''I don't know how bad it is,'' coach Vinny Del Negro said.
Los Angeles played without Chris Kaman, who sat out after spraining his left ankle Sunday night at Portland. Brian Cook served the first of a two-game suspension for a flagrant foul against the Trail Blazers.
The Clippers opened the third quarter with a 22-11 surge that extended their lead to 72-55. Griffin provided back-to-back highlights in the spurt with a one-handed running dunk followed by fast-break slam off an alley-oop pass from Eric Bledsoe.
The Kings were limited to four field goals in the third.
Bledsoe scored the Clippers' final six points to give them a 49-44 halftime lead. Gomes' shot from the top of the 3-point line on the Kings' side of the court went in at the buzzer, but the referees ruled he didn't get it off in time.
NOTES: Kaman was scheduled to have a MRI on Tuesday. ... Gordon extended his streak of scoring 20 or more points to a career-high nine games. ... The Kings fell to 2-6 on the road. ... Sacramento has reached 100 points only twice in its last 15 games.