The Los Angeles Clippers were without their top four players tonight as they took on the Sacramento Kings in their third preseason game. And it showed as the Kings defeated the Clips 99-88.
Without Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to matchup with, Demarcus Cousins had himself a game finishing with 31 points (25 in the first half) and 11 rebounds bullying Lou Amundson and Byron Mullens in the process.
It wasn’t pretty without the “Big 3″ and it shown what was mentioned often throughout the season: if DeAndre Jordan doesn’t pan out how many expect him to be or he goes down with an injury this club is screwed because none of the reserve players are pluses on defense. Antawn Jamison and Mullens were brought in for offensive purposes and only one of Amundson and Brandon Davies fit the role of energy players more-so than they are defensive players.
Offensively things were solid with Darren Collison running the show. In 35 minutes of play Collison finished the game with 20 points in 10 assists, never forcing the issue. With more time to show what he’s made of, Collison may be one of the biggest steals of the offseason, signing with the Clips for a two-years, $1.9 million deal.
The offense was also carried by the likes of Jamal Crawford who had his best game of the preseason with 25 points on 14 shots and Byron Mullens who pulled off a very Mullens-esque night scoring 16 points on 18 shots (4-12 from three). Watching Mullens in the past three games brings back the questions of the Clippers signed the big man. While he spreads the floor due to the “presence” of his shooting, he just isn’t a good three-point shooter (career 30 percent from behind the arc).
On the other side, the Kings had a balanced effort outside of Demarcus Cousin‘s offensive explosion. Isaiah Thomas finished the night with 16 points in 29 minutes while the teams first round pick in Ben McLemore scored a quiet 7 points.
Speaking of first round picks, third year guard Jimmer Fredette received a DNP-Coach’s Decision after a 7 point performance against the Los Angeles Lakers. The club was also without Carl Landry after the team announced will be out for 3-4 months after receiving hip flexor surgery earlier today.
The bad news of the night came when Maalik Wayns, who’s currently fighting for a roster spot, went down with a hyper-extended left knee joining J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes and Reggie Bullock as players who have sat with injuries this preseason.
UPDATE: X-Rays negative on Maalik Wayns’ hyper-extended left knee. He will be further evaluated tomorrow.
— Los Angeles Clippers (@LAClippers) October 15, 2013
Tomorrow the Clippers will face off with former reserve point guard Eric Bledsoe and the Phoenix Suns. Game begins at 7 PM Pacific time.