Clippers' DeAndre Jordan, left, blocks a shot from behind as Sacramento… (Richard Hartog / Associated…)
This time the Clippers played at a high level against an opponent they figured to beat. This time the Clippers didn't play down to the level of the competition.
Instead, the Clippers put a 116-81 beat-down on a Sacramento Kings team that is one of the worst the NBA has to offer.
The Clippers opened a 35-point lead at one point, scored a season-high and produced their biggest margin of victory of the season.
They had seven players score in double figures, four of their five starters.
The frontcourt of the Clippers, power forward Blake Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan, were dominant forces.
Griffin had 14 points on five-for-10 shooting and nine rebounds in just over 28 minutes, never playing in the fourth quarter.
Jordan had 13 points on six-for-12 shooting and six rebounds in 23 minutes, also never playing in the fourth. Jordan also had two blocked shots.
Chris Paul played an efficient game, scoring 14 points on six-for-eight shooting, two for three on three-pointers. He also had five rebounds and five assists in 21 minutes, also never touching the court in the fourth.
"I think we just came out aggressive, on both the offensive end and defensive end," Paul said. "We didn't really let them in the game early.... We just executed."
And they didn't mishandle the basketball much, turning the ball over a season-low five times.
They also had three reserves score in double figures, led by Jamal Crawford's 17 points and Eric Bledsoe's 14.
"It's not really who you are playing," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "It's the approach you take to the game. We have to learn, hopefully, from the past."
The past was the recent past of last month, when the Clippers lost to such sub-.500 teams as the Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Hornets and just escaped for a victory against a Minnesota Timberwolves team that had a record below .500.
Sacramento fit into that bill, a team that entered the game with the fourth-worst record in the NBA, leaving the game with third consecutive loss to fall to 4-12.
This time, however, the Clippers didn't mess around, building a 58-34 half-time lead.
It was a Clippers' opponent season-low for points in a half.
The last key player the Clippers need back from an injury is small forward Grant Hill, who has been out all season with a bone bruise in his right knee.
Del Negro said Hill would have an MRI exam on the knee sometime soon, but that there still wasn't a timetable for his return. The hope is that Hill will come back sometime around Christmas
"We have to continue to get Grant healthy," Del Negro said. "It's hard because he's not doing anything real physical. It's more just non-weight-bearing things, where you just want to rest the injury. Once he gets the MRI, we'll see where he is and then hopefully get him a little bit more activity."…
Ronny Turiaf didn't practice Friday because of an injured left ankle, but participated in some of Saturday's shoot-around and was able to play against the Kings.