Clippers fall in preseason finale

After getting out to a 10-point lead after the first quarter, the depleted Clippers bench couldn’t keep up with Sacramento Friday night as closed out the preseason with a 110-100 loss at Staples Center.
Chris Paul scored 23 points and Jamal Crawford added 17 for the Clippers, who open the regular season Tuesday on the Lakers’ court at Staples Center.
“We’ll be ready. I’m excited to get going,” said forward Blake Griffin, who had seven points and eight rebounds as the Clippers closed the exhibition schedule with a 5-3 record. “These next three days are important for us in terms of preparation and I think our mindset will be in the right place.”
Reserve forward Matt Barnes made his season debut and started, but fouled out after 21 minutes. He went 0-for-5 from the floor and scored four points, The Clippers played without reserve point guard Darren Collison (sore knee) and guard/forward jared Dudley, who was given the night off by Coach Doc Rivers.
The Clippers were outscored, 69-41, over the second and third quarters and Rivers once again pointed out how the defensive intensity that he saw from the club early in the preseason was missing again.
“Defensively we’ve taken a little step back and we’ve got to get that going again,” Rivers said. “It’s not a big deal to me right now. We’ll have this conversation four, five, 10, 12 more times. It’s called human life. You go up and down, it ebbs and flows. We’ll just keep working on it. We’ll be a great defensive team. We have too many good defensive players.”
Willie Green came off the bench to score 12 points and center DeAndre Jordan addedf 12 points, nine rebounds and three more blocked shots, giving him 24 in the eight preseason games.
Guard Isaiah Thomas came off the bench to score 27 to lead Sacramento (5-2) and center DeMarcus Cousins had 20 points in 19 minutes.

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