Created: 11/23/2013 9:35 PM WHEC.com
(AP) LOS ANGELES - The Clippers and the Kings were both mad about the 20-point difference in their game.
The Clippers were angry about blowing a big lead; the Kings didn’t like being in that kind of hole and nearly digging themselves out only to lose.
Chris Paul scored 22 points, hitting a go-ahead free throw with 2.5 seconds left, to help Los Angeles win 103-102 Saturday.
"We’ve got to put teams away and not keep being in all these dogfights," Paul said. "It was kind of fitting we won with a defensive stop because we’ve been trying to improve our defense. Hopefully it gives us some confidence."
Paul got fouled and made the first, putting the Clippers ahead 103-102, but missed the second. After a timeout, DeAndre Jordan appeared to alter DeMarcus Cousins’ jumper to preserve the win.
"The only thing they could get was a jump shot," Jordan said. "I was just praying they didn’t call a foul. They gave me a block? That’s awesome, I’ll take it."
Actually, although a block was immediately posted in the statistics, officials took it away in the final box score, leaving Jordan with two blocks for the game.
Jordan had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Blake Griffin finished with 16 points and 10 boards for the Clippers, who have won 11 of their last 13 against the Kings. J.J. Redick added 15 points.
Paul’s NBA-record streak of 13 straight games with at least 10 points and 10 assists to start a season ended when he finished with nine assists.
Cousins had 23 points and 19 rebounds for the Kings, who had won two in a row.
Isaiah Thomas added 22 points, making 11 of 13 free throws, and Patrick Patterson scored 21 points off the bench, combining to outscore the Clippers’ reserves.
Afterward, Cousins tried to pull Thomas away from Jamal Crawford as they went to shake hands.
"That’s just DeMarcus," Thomas said, laughing. "He gets upset. He doesn’t like anybody on the other team, and that’s how he is. I’m all for it, but I just had to shake my guy Jamal’s hand."
Jared Dudley didn’t think much of Cousins’ move.
"It’s bad sportsmanship," he said. "He’s better than that. Someone will talk to him."
Thomas and Patterson carried the Kings in the fourth, when Cousins was limited to four points and picked up two fouls on the same play.
"I’m tired of being a part of going down 20 and then trying to come back later in the game," Cousins said. "The way we played the last stretch of that game, we’ve got to start games off the same way so that we won’t be in those situations and we’d have a better chance."
Dudley’s 3-pointer pulled the Clippers to 96-95 and then Paul’s 3 tied it at 98-all with 1:29 to play.
Cousins missed a pair of free throws before Paul’s driving layup put the Clippers, who led by nine earlier in the fourth, back in front 100-98.
Thomas made two free throws for another tie at 100-all. Griffin’s driving dunk gave the Clippers back the lead 102-100 with 44 seconds left.
Paul fouled Thomas, who made both for a 102-all tie with 24 seconds left.
Thompson and Patterson combined on a 10-point run to open the fourth and give Sacramento a 79-78 lead. Travis Outlaw got called for a flagrant-2 foul for pulling down Redick on a fast break and was ejected.
"I don’t think Outlaw is a dirty player despite his last name," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "But it was just that he was trying to stop the play and he got (Redick) around the neck. You have to throw the guy out."
"I didn’t think it was a flagrant-2," he said. "Travis is a guy who’s never even looking to do anything like that, and the first thing they think of is throwing him out of the game. We tried to play through it, but we just couldn’t get the win."
Redick made just one of two free throws, tying the game at 79-all.
The Kings chipped away in the third and twice cut their deficit to two points before Cousins scored their final four points to trail 75-69 going into the fourth. The Clippers were 7 of 18 from the floor, got outrebounded 15-10 and missed 7 of 9 free throws.
The Clippers extended their lead to 40-20 in the second before the Kings outscored them 28-17 to end the half trailing 57-48.
"It’s a mental thing. You have to stay locked in," Griffin said about blowing the big lead. "They played well in the second half, but I felt like it was on us. We relaxed too much."
The Clippers shot 62 percent in dominating the first. They ran off 16 unanswered points, including four 3-pointers in a row, to go up 21-8. Dudley hit back-to-back 3s in front of the Clippers’ bench before they closed the quarter with six straight points to lead 29-13.
Notes: The Clippers won’t have to face Derrick Rose when they play the Bulls on Sunday in a second consecutive 12:30 p.m. PST start. He hurt his right knee on Friday night in Portland and is out indefinitely. ... The Kings have just four win streaks of three games or more since December 2009.