LA Clippers rally back in Chris Paul’s return, defeat Kings, 106-98

The LA Clippers rallied from 14 down in Chris Paul’s return to get their third straight win and defeat the Sacramento Kings, 106-98.

Austin Rivers scored 24 points on the night (following 28 in the previous game) Chris Paul came back to help the LA Clippers (25-14) get a win over the Sacramento Kings (15-21).

Paul, in his first night back, recorded 14 points and 12 assists. J.J. Redick hit five threes en route to scoring 20 points. DeAndre Jordan, coming off a 20-rebound game Wednesday night, finished with 20 points and nine rebounds. Jamal Crawford only had nine points, but a season-high eight assists was impressive to see from him, and something we don’t see too often.

DeMarcus Cousins scored 25 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists… and a technical. Darren Collison had 20 points on 7-of-13 from the field, while Rudy Gay chipped in 18 points with seven rebounds. Ty Lawson looked like the old Ty, driving to the basket and making plays to finish with 17 points and six assists.

It took about three minutes for the Clippers to score in the first quarter. It was visible they were adjusting to playing with Paul after missing seven of the last eight games. They started the night 1-of-9 and just didn’t look comfortable. The Clippers trailed in the quarter by as much as 14 and finished down 29-19 at the end of the first.

The second quarter could not have been more night and day for L.A., after shooting 36 percent from the field they went on a terrific 34-8 run. Fueled by Rivers’ 12 points in the quarter and great ball movement with eight assists on 13 makes. Ball movement looked better, but it was the defense for the Clippers that really choked out the offense of the Kings. Sacramento shot 3-of-20 in the period. Yes, you read that right. They went dry ice-cold and trailed by 53-41 to end the half.

In the third, the Kings found their shooting touch again with 32 points and 63 percent shooting. The Clippers tried to keep pace, but it was the Kings again to do enough to win the quarter.

Chris Paul looked like himself after a deflected pass, he gathered the ball, spun and passed to an open Crawford for the triple. Cousins made it interesting by hitting a 3-pointer with 56 seconds left to get within two. Paul came through in the last-minute to seal the victory against the Kings with six straight free throws to seal the victory.

The return of the Point God

Chris Paul returned after missing seven games for the Clippers and there was some rust early. He returned to the lineup and provided the defense he is known for, while being able to orchestrate the offense and get other people easy open shots. Chris finished the game with three steals and 12 assists in a little over 31 minutes of playing time.

Doc Rivers has made it clear that he did not want Chris to play unless he did not have any problems in the days following practices, as reported by Broderick Turner of the LA Times.

“Two days ago he had a really good workout,” Rivers said before the Clippers’ shootaround Friday morning. “And then he did it again yesterday and it’s been no residuals. That has been our thing.

Paul played well and was a ball hawk on defense. The Clippers sure did miss his IQ on the floor.

Notes

DeAndre Jordan called for a technical after yelling in direction of referee after a no call.

Blake Griffin could be back before the end of the month.

DeMarcus Cousins got his 11th technical of the year.

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Up next

The LA Clippers travel back home to play the Miami Heat on Sunday in a rematch from earlier in the season, where the Clippers won in Miami. The Heat are having a disappointing season and while they have not been playing well, they need to be taken seriously. Hassan Whiteside (eye) has missed the previous four games, but is traveling with the team and could play on Sunday. It would be a great matchup between he and Jordan. Especially after comments about Whiteside being a more complete player than Jordan.

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