What was the first clue that there was something odd going on in Friday's installment of the compelling Blake Griffin Derby?
Perhaps the first clue should have been the Clippers' Brian Skinner lighting up the Kings for 11 points in the first quarter, or, for that matter, 17 points in the first half.
Or the Clippers taking a 31-point lead about midway through the second quarter. Then there was the fact that Sacramento shot 27% in the first half and missed all 10 three-point attempts in the first half.
The Kings don't need to be math experts to know there is a good difference between a 25% chance of winning the draft lottery, and the right to pick Oklahoma's Griffin, and a 15.6% chance, by finishing third.
That's where the Kings and Clippers stood before their game at Staples Center, worst and third-worst in the league, respectively, and Sacramento seemed determined to maintain the status quo.
The Clippers, aided by the return of big men Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman, defeated the Kings, 109-78, which was their first win in seven games.
Skinner had 21 points, two off his career high, and added 10 rebounds. Rookie Eric Gordon added 20 points and Baron Davis had 16.
Kaman, who had been out with flu and missed three games, came off the bench and had 14 points and 13 rebounds in about 30 minutes.
"I couldn't breathe very good," Kaman said. "Every time I miss games and I come back, it seems like I'm more rusty every time."
Camby missed five games because of a sprained left ankle and did not have any points but grabbed 11 rebounds in 22 minutes.
Sacramento made only four of 20 three-point shots.
The Clippers had not won since March 25 at New York. Sacramento has lost seven straight games and defeated the Clippers in their three previous meetings this season.
The new Clippers motto? Twenty wins, or bust.
"The good thing is we got the win," Kaman said. "We've got 19, hopefully we'll get to 20 by the end of the year."
The Kings' motto: Griffin or bust.
Kaman was asked about their effort and helpfully finished the question.
"Was [Sacramento] sandbagging?" he said. "It's hard for you to tell your players to go out there and don't play hard. Who's going to do that? If you look at the stats, [Francisco] Garcia played a lot of minutes. . . . I don't know what's going on in the organization there. But if you can get a guy like Blake Griffin, the No. 1 pick, that's pretty good for any organization.
"I can guarantee they're not telling them to lose. It just happened that way."
Sacramento interim Coach Kenny Natt was angered by the effort, calling it "an absolute embarrassment."
The draft lottery will be on May 19 at Secaucus, N.J., and Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy was asked if he was a superstitious sort.
"Not really," Dunleavy said. "But when I played, you do the same things. If you've got something going good you don't know whether it's luck or some method to the madness."
Orlando's method was location, location, location. The Magic hit the Stage Deli in New York, Dunleavy recalled. "Orlando went there two years in a row and got back-to-back [No. 1 picks]," he said.
Dunleavy paused, saying, "I went after that. . . . I'm not superstitious."