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Clippers rout Kings, win team-record 12th straight

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Perhaps no player in the Los Angeles Clippers locker room understands the heights that the team has reached more than Lamar Odom.

Because he, more than anyone else, knows the depths at which this team once fell.'

So he made it a point before the team's matchup with visiting Sacramento on Friday night to point out what was in store with a win.

History.

Blake Griffin had 21 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and two steals to lead the Clippers to a franchise-record 12th-consecutive win, a 97-85 defeat of the Kings on Friday night at Staples Center.

"We lost 20 games in a row," Odom said of his brutal early tenure with the Clippers, who drafted him fourth in the 1999 draft, "so the record means to me, a lot. I was down here before the game, letting everybody know exactly what we're playing for.

"The meaning of it. Why it's important for us to get it. To be part of a tradition -- starting a tradition is big. We're at the start of something special."

The Clippers hit the 20-point mark less than seven minutes into the game, built a 10-point lead less than a minute into the second quarter and led by double-digits for much of the second half as they continued their domination of the dregs of the NBA.

Once one of the league doormats, the Clippers are now having their way with the league's worst teams, having faced only four teams with winning records during the 12-game winning streak, and none that are more than four games above .500.

"It's been a great run," Griffin said. "My teammates have been doing an unbelievable job. The way we've come out and attacked games -- each game hasn't been perfect, but we've come out here and figured it out."

By halftime, it was clear Los Angeles would be able to avoid a letdown.

Particularly with one of the Kings' few imposing figures -- center DeMarcus Cousins -- banished to the locker room by coach Keith Smart for the second half after scoring nine points for an undisclosed reason.

By then, the Clippers (20-6) led by 14. Despite an uncharacteristic 19 turnovers, they cruised to the easy win.

"Tonight, we weren't able to convert the way we're usually capable of," Los Angeles coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We have to do a better job making sure we're making the high-percentage play. We need to do a better job of recognizing when it's time to make an easy play."

Chris Paul had 24 points, 13 assists and five steals, as the Clippers defeated the Kings for the second time during their winning streak. Reserve forward Matt Barnes added 13 points and five rebounds and Lamar Odom added eight points and nine rebounds. Guard Jimmer Fredette had 16 points off the bench to lead Sacramento, whose reserves outscored the starters, 44-41. Isaiah Thomas had 12 points off the bench for the Kings, and guard Marcus Thornton led Sacramento starters with 11 points.

Griffin had 16 of his 21 points and eight of his 13 rebounds in the first half and he registered his 11th double-double this season as Los Angeles dominated the Kings (8-18) in the post. The Clippers built a 32-16 rebounding advantage in the first half and finished with a 52-32 lead on the glass.

"All those loose balls, all those 50-50 balls, they beat us to every punch," Kings center Chuck Hayes said. "If we take care of the ball, keep them off offensive glass, we give ourselves a better chance. We played well, but we would've given ourselves a better chance.

"They have so many options, man, so many scoring threats. I think everyone plays inside their strengths and sticks to them, and that makes for a dangerous team."

NOTES: The Clippers' hot stretch has them among the league's elite, as they own the second-best winning percentage, one game behind NBA-leading Oklahoma City. ... Kings guards Tyreke Evans (knee) and Francisco Garcia (back) did not play after being listed as questionable before the game. ... The Kings are 3-5 this season without Evans in the lineup. ... Chauncey Billups missed his ninth consecutive game with peroneal tendinitis in his left foot. He has played in three games this season after returning Nov. 28 from a ruptured left Achilles. ... Fellow veteran Grant Hill (right knee bone bruise) has yet to play for the Clippers this season. ... Sacramento is coming off its highest-scoring output of the season, a 131-127 win over Golden State on Dec. 19 that snapped a five-game losing strea
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