Several comebacks saw the Kings prevail 176-175, spoiling Russell Westbrook’s debut with the Clippers and causing thousands of Sacramento fans to chant “Light the beam!” when the last buzzer sounded.
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This was a shootout from start to finish: the two teams were on 40 points after a quarter, and then the Clippers led 80-76 at halftime and 117-110 after three quarters. The two teams finished the regulation tied at 153 and were still stuck at 164 after the first overtime. Finally, the Kings outplayed the Clippers 12-11 in the second overtime to set the stunning final score.
Only once in an NBA game has there been more offensive fireworks: The Detroit Pistons beat the Denver Nuggets 186-184 on December 13, 1983 for a total of 370 points in three overtimes. The Kings and Clippers combined to break the previous record for second-highest scoring, 337 points, in the San Antonio Spurs’ 171-166 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on March 6, 1982 in three overtimes.
The end result of the box has to be seen to be believed. The Kings set a new franchise record, surpassing the 165 points the then-Cincinnati Royals scored against the San Diego Rockets in 1970. Since moving to Sacramento in 1985, the Kings’ all-time high has been 154 points in a resounding win in 1993 over the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Clippers also set a franchise record, surpassing the 153 points they scored against the Milwaukee Bucks on April 1, 2022. Meanwhile, Los Angeles tied for 26 three-pointers to set another franchise record.
On Friday, NBA teams averaged 114.4 points per game, their highest average since 1969-70. But even by the standards of the ongoing scoring boom, this competition was in a category of its own.
Kings coach Mike Brown, for example, said he doesn’t want games in the 170s to become the norm.
“I already take a baby aspirin a day,” Brown joked. “I hope not. Because then the two of us would have to take aspirin daily. Let’s keep it a little lower, hopefully winning by a little bit more.
Not surprisingly, almost everyone who came onto the court got their share of buckets on Friday, as 14 players — seven from each side — finished in double digits. Kings guard Malik Monk led all goalscorers with a career-high 45 points while De’Aaron Fox clinched the win with a season-high 42 points.
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“Defense was played, to be honest, but hard shots were taken,” Fox said. “From the [219 total] shots, you see how many were making hard. View all brands. There were a lot of hard shots and that’s a testament to the talent in the league and also the pace we play at. There was a very high level of shot manufacture. A lot of guys in this league can’t really do much about it unless you block their shot – especially when they see him go two or three times.
Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard finished the tournament with a team-high 44 points, just one close to equal his career high, and Paul George added 34 points as he lost.
“Crazy,” Leonard said. “Everyone was shooting out there. Threes, layups, hitting the free throw line. It was ridiculous.”
Among the other notable numbers: The Kings attempted 111 shots, scored 88 points in the color, and scored 42 points short of the Clippers’ 25 turnovers. The two teams also combined to attempt 86 three-pointers and 71 free throws.
Notably, the Kings closed a 14-point deficit in the last four minutes of regular time, a six-point deficit in the last three minutes of the first overtime, and a six-point deficit in the final 1:50 of the second overtime . To squeak out the win, Monk hit a game-changing three-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining in rule and two game-changing free throws with 20.4 seconds remaining in first overtime.
Then, with the Clippers leading, 175-169, and with less than two minutes remaining in the second overtime, the Kings went on a 7-0 final run. Fox ended the win with a go-ahead jumper with 36 seconds remaining.
“We just had our heads up,” Monk said. “We knew they would let us back in. Keep doing.”
Clippers forward Nicolas Batum missed a potentially game-winning three-pointer just before the buzzer sounded. Monk threw the ball high in the air to celebrate the marathon win, which came on the second night of a consecutive tournament when the Kings defeated the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.
With the win, Sacramento improved to 34-25, good for the No. 3 in the Western Conference. The Kings are on track to complete a 16-year run without making the postseason, the NBA’s longest current playoff drought.
“I don’t give a shit who’s over there,” Fox said when asked about Westbrook’s debut with the Clippers. “Came. We’re worried.”
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