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Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro sat Griffin the first 7:30 of the second quarter, and Martin and Reggie Evans -- players who've carved out careers with punishing plays -- led a defensive charge that stymied Sacramento and Cousins. Los Angeles outscored the Kings 17-7 to begin the period, opening a 44-30 lead with most of its stars on the bench.
Sacramento answered with 12 straight points behind a flurry of foul shots as officials tried to keep the physical play from getting out of control. Paul and Griffin returned, and the Clippers pushed ahead 48-42 at halftime.
Cousins picked up his fourth foul reaching in against Griffin with 10:49 remaining in the third quarter, relegating Sacramento's big man -- who has been surging since coach Keith Smart took over for the fired Paul Westphal after a 2-5 start -- to the bench until 4:35 left in the fourth. Los Angeles built a 65-54 lead at one point during that span.
NOTES: Clippers G Mo Williams sat out with a sprained left big toe. Williams hopes to play Saturday night when the Clippers host Sacramento in Los Angeles. ... The Kings played without G Marcus Thornton (bruised left calf) and reserve F John Salmons (sore right hip) for the second straight game. ... Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, stuck in a stalemate with the Maloof family that owns the Kings over about $3.2 million in pre-development costs for an estimated $391 million new arena, was sitting courtside. None of the Maloof brothers were at their courtside seats
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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