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Kings-Clippers Preview

AP - Sports

Blake Griffin has dominated DeMarcus Cousins in their matchups, powering a season sweep by the Los Angeles Clippers last season.

The power forwards meet for the first time this season Saturday night when Griffin and the Clippers try to drop Cousins' Kings to 0-6 on the road.

Los Angeles (9-6) is 6-1 against Sacramento (4-11) over the last two seasons since Cousins came into the league. Griffin is averaging 20.6 points on 60.2 percent shooting to go with 12.0 rebounds per game in those meetings while Cousins is averaging 11.0 points, 9.0 boards and shooting 35.7 percent.

Cousins' scoring average against the Clippers is his worst against any Western Conference foe. He grew so frustrated after fouling out in 18 minutes in a 93-85 home loss to Los Angeles on April 5 that he called Griffin an "actor." Two days later, Griffin had 27 points and 14 rebounds in a 109-94 home win over Sacramento.

The Clippers went 3-0 against the Kings in 2011-12.

While the duel inside could prove decisive, Los Angeles figures to have an advantage on the perimeter if Sacramento guard Tyreke Evans misses a second straight game.

Evans sat out Friday due to a bruised left knee in a 97-92 home defeat to Indiana. He is averaging a career-low 14.9 points, but had netted 21.0 per game over his last five outings.

His absence could make it easier for Chris Paul, who had 23 points and 11 assists in Wednesday's 101-95 home win over Minnesota. The Clippers ended a season-high four-game losing streak.

The game marked the season debut for Chauncey Billups, who started and had seven points and three assists in 19 minutes in his first action since Feb. 6 after recovering from a torn left Achilles tendon.

"Now that I'm back, I look forward to regaining my old form," he told the Clippers' official website. "And I'm going to be very patient with that. Just me being back is a success and a blessing, so I'm going to be happy with that until everything else kind of comes around."

Clippers leading scorer Jamal Crawford is only averaging 11.5 points on 32.5 percent shooting in his last four games.

"I find myself in the corner just waiting on the action, when I have to go make the action happen," Crawford said. "That's who I am and that's what I'll get back to doing.

Griffin had 18 points and six boards Wednesday as he bounced back from a season-low, four-point effort two nights earlier against New Orleans.

Cousins, meanwhile, had 19 points and 16 rebounds Friday for his first double-double in six games. The big man, however, struggled to make 5 of 17 shots, and is shooting 42.0 percent on the season.

''Yes, he forced too many shots tonight,'' Kings coach Keith Smart said of Cousins. ''He needs to start taking those shots that are available."

The Kings are one game worse than their record after 15 games last season and enduring their worst road start since going 0-9 to begin 2007-08.

"I just knew our team could be better and much further along than where we are right now," Smart said. "I am very disappointed."

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