SACRAMENTO (AP) — Chris Paul scored a season-high 40 points and added 13 assists with eight rebounds to propel the Los Angeles Clippers to a 117-107 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
Sparked by the scoring and playmaking of Paul, and considerable hustle at the defensive end, the Clippers ran off 20 consecutive points in the third quarter to break the game open. The lead remained in double digits the rest of the way.
DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists for the Kings. Rudy Gay scored 23, Seth Curry had a career-high 19 and Darren Collison 18.
Jeff Green scored 22 points, Jamal Crawford had 21 and J.J. Redick added 16 for Los Angeles. The Clippers, who had dropped three of five, have beaten the Kings seven straight games in Sacramento and 19 of 23 overall.
Paul missed the team’s morning shootaround while nursing a sore right forearm, but the injury never seemed to bother his shooting. He had 23 points by halftime and made 13 of 20 shots and all 10 free throws in falling three points shy of his career high.
The Kings played without point guard Rajon Rondo (right thumb tendinitis), who leads the NBA with 12 assists per game. His X-rays were negative and his status is day to day. The thumb has been bothering Rondo for nearly three weeks.
Every game has become crucial for the Kings. They are 4 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 25 games remaining.
After the Kings took a 72-64 lead early in the third quarter, the Clippers scored 20 straight points before Gay converted on a finger roll at the 4:04 mark. Paul had 13 points and eight assists in the quarter, when the Clippers outscored Sacramento 34-16 and took a 98-83 advantage into the fourth.
Clippers: The recently acquired Green made his first start with the Clippers after coming off the bench in the previous three games. … Paul Pierce wasn’t with the team for personal reasons. An 18-year veteran, Pierce is playing just under 18 minutes per game, the lowest mark of his career. … Coming off a franchise high for 3-point attempts (13 of 46) in Tuesday’s loss to Denver, the Clippers missed their first eight before Paul made one with 4:04 left in the second quarter.
Kings: Cousins had 11 first-quarter shots, including four straight missed tips on one frustrating possession. … Curry scored 11 first-half points, surpassing his previous career high of nine. … Veteran forward Caron Butler has not played in 28 straight games due to coach’s decision. His last game was a 6-minute stint Dec. 21 against Washington.
Clippers: Host Boston on Monday.
Kings: Host Oklahoma City on Monday.
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