Kings answer Gentry’s call in win over Clippers; Haliburton says Walton was ‘scapegoat’

·3 min read

The Kings have experienced some of their lowest moments at home this season, but they’ve fared much better on the road.

That trend continued Wednesday night when the Kings went on the road to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 124-115 at Staples Center.

De’Aaron Fox scored 24 points to lead six players in double figures for the Kings, who improved to 6-6 on the road 24 hours after suffering an embarrassing home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Interim coach Alvin Gentry apologized to fans and called out his players after a second-half collapse allowed the Lakers to take over Golden 1 Center on Tuesday. Gentry was asked if he liked his team’s response against the Clippers on the second night of a back-to-back.

“I did and I didn’t have any doubt that I wouldn’t get it,” Gentry said. “They’re a good bunch of players. They’re a good bunch of kids and I think they want to do the right thing. I just wanted to remind them that we have to do it on a consistent basis, but I thought the response was great.”

Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton said it is the players’ responsibility to achieve that level of consistency, adding that former coach Luke Walton took the fall for their erratic play. Haliburton said the team had a good discussion and a productive film session following the loss to the Lakers.

“I think as players we dictated a lot of the conversation last night, coming into today with film,” Haliburton said. “Coach Gentry has done a good job in letting the players kind of have a lot to say. He comes in and we’re already talking and having that conversation, and he just lets us go. We as players know we have to be better. It seemed like Luke was a scapegoat at times when we weren’t playing well. People were blaming him, but at the end of the day it’s on us as basketball players and we have to be better. It’s not on any staffs. It’s not on any front office. It’s not on anybody except the guys on the court. We just have to be better.”

Terence Davis added 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting for the Kings (8-14). Davion Mitchell came off the bench to score 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Richaun Holmes recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Haliburton also had a double-double with 12 points, 11 assists and zero turnovers in 40 minutes.

Luke Kennard and Terance Mann had 19 points apiece for the Clippers (11-11), who elected to rest Paul George. Ivica Zubac had 17 points and seven rebounds.

The Kings led by as many as 20 in the opening half and carried a 62-52 lead into the halftime break. They shot 51.1% from the field while holding the Clippers to 43.4%.

Chimezie Metu and Mitchell played big roles in the first half. Metu had 13 points and six rebounds. Mitchell came off the bench to add 13 points on 4-of-4 shooting with three 3-pointers.

The Clippers clawed back to cut the deficit to 10 at the half, but the Kings hit them with an 11-2 run to go ahead 73-54 early in the third quarter. Sacramento went up by 25 late in the third.

The Clippers staged a 14-0 run to cut the deficit to eight with 1:42 remaining, but Fox made two free throws and a driving layup to help Sacramento withstand the charge.

Fox felt the Kings responded well to Gentry’s call for consistency.

“I think we were able to be a little bit more consistent,” Fox said. “Obviously we have to finish the game a lot better, but I think over the course of the game we were more consistent tonight.”

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