Multiple comebacks saw the Kings prevail, 176-175, ruining Russell Westbrook’s debut with the Clippers and prompting thousands of Sacramento fans to shout “Light the beam!” when the last buzzer sounded.
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This was a shootout from start to finish: the two teams were tied at 40 after one quarter, and then the Clippers led 80–76 at halftime and 117–110 after three quarters. The two teams finished tied at 153 and were still tied at 164 after the first overtime. In the end, the Kings defeated the Clippers, 12-11, in the second overtime to provide the eye-watering final margin.
Only once did an NBA game see more offensive fireworks: the Detroit Pistons defeated the Denver Nuggets, 186-184, on December 13, 1983, for a combined score of 370 points in three overtime periods. The Kings and Clippers combined bettered the previous record for second-highest scoring, 337 points in the San Antonio Spurs’ 171–166 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on March 6, 1982, in three overtime periods.
The final box score has to be seen to be believed. The Kings set a new franchise scoring record, surpassing the 165 points the then-Cincinnati Royals scored in 1970 against the San Diego Rockets. the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Clippers also set a franchise scoring record, surpassing the 153 points they scored against the Milwaukee Bucks on April 1, 2022. Meanwhile, Los Angeles connected with 26 three-pointers to set another franchise record.
Entering Friday, NBA teams scored 114.4 points per game, the highest average since 1969-70. But even by the measure of the ongoing scoring boom, this match was in a category of its own.
For example, Kings Coach Mike Brown said he doesn’t want games in the 170s to become the norm.
“I already take a baby aspirin daily,” Brown joked. “I hope not. Because then I would have to go to two daily aspirins. Let’s keep it a little lower, hopefully we win with a slightly bigger margin.”
Unsurprisingly, almost everyone who took the field on Friday got their share of the buckets, as 14 players – seven from each side – finished in double figures. King guard Malik Monk led all scorers with a career-high 45 points, while De’Aaron Fox added a season-high 42 points to the win.
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“To be fair, there was defense, but hard shots were made,” said Fox. “From the [219 total] shots, look how many were hard. View all brands. A lot of hard shots went in, and that shows the talent in the league and also the pace at which we play. There was a very high level of shooting. A lot of guys in this league, unless you block their shot – especially when they see it go two or three times – there’s not much you can do about it.
Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard finished with a team-high 44 points, one shy of tying his career-high, and Paul George added 34 points in a losing effort.
“Crazy,” said Leonard. “Everyone was taking shots there. Threes, layups, going to the free-throw line. It was ridiculous.”
Among the other notable numbers: The Kings attempted 111 shots, scored 88 points in the paint and scored 42 points on the Clippers’ 25 turnovers. The two teams also combined to attempt 86 three-pointers and 71 free throws.
Remarkably, the Kings made up a 14-point deficit in the final four minutes of regulation, a six-point deficit in the final three minutes of the first overtime, and a six-point deficit in the final 1:50 of the second overtime period . To clinch the win, Monk hit a tying three-pointer with 1.1 seconds left in regulation and a pair of tying free throws with 20.4 seconds left in the first overtime.
Then, with the Clippers leading, 175-169, with less than two minutes to play in the second overtime, the Kings went on a 7-0 closing run. Fox capped off the win with a go-ahead jumper with 36 seconds left in the game.
“We just had our heads up,” Monk said. “We knew they would let us back in. Stick with it.”
Clippers forward Nicolas Batum missed a potential game-winning three-pointer just before the buzzer sounded. Monk threw the ball high in the air to celebrate the marathon victory, which came on the second night of a back-to-back as the Kings defeated the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.
With the win, Sacramento improved to 34-25, good for the No. 3 Western Conference. The Kings are on track to break a 16-year streak without reaching the postseason, the NBA’s longest current playoff drought.
“I don’t give a fuck who’s there,” Fox said when asked about Westbrook’s debut with the Clippers. “We’re coming. We’re worried about us.”
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