Clippers vs. Kings takeaway: Russell Westbrook’s first game comes in the second-highest scoring in NBA history

You might have missed it since it wasn’t televised nationally and didn’t end until close to 2 a.m. ET, but the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings engaged in one of the most entertaining — and high-scoring — games of all time. of the regular season on Friday night. The contests were a battle between the third and fourth possible seeds in the Western Conference, with Sacramento leading LA by two games entering the evening, and the teams certainly played for postseason position. on the line.

The Clippers dominated much of regulation, and for a while it looked like they had it in the bag. However, the upstart Kings stayed within striking distance until they made their move. They were able to mount a late comeback, thanks in large part to De’Aaron Fox’s consistent lateral play, to force overtime. Five extra minutes weren’t enough, though, as the Kings needed two overtime periods to finally pull off an impressive 176-175 victory… No, that’s not a typo. Yes, you read that right. That final score was the second highest scoring game in NBA history.

Here are four takeaways from the winning game of basketball:

Westbrook starts for Clippers

Russell Westbrook made his debut with his new team on Friday night, and instead of easing the veteran guard into action to allow him to adjust to his new reality, the Clippers used the opposite approach and threw him right into the fire it. Westbrook started the game for LA, and went on to play 39 minutes. During that time, his positives and negatives as a player were on display. ‘

First, the good: Westbrook pushed the Clippers’ pace, and his ability to attack in transition and drop defenses opened up plenty of opportunities for LA’s shooters. Westbrook finished with a game-high 14 assists to go along with 17 points and five rebounds. He was also quite effective from the field, hitting seven of his 13 attempts. But, he also turned the ball over seven times and found himself lost on defense a few times. If he can clean those areas up, then there is some reason for hope for Clippers fans. Westbrook is far from a perfect player, but the Clippers could prove to be a strong fit for the former MVP.

Kings reserve guard Malik Manach turned in the game of his career on Friday night. In 40 minutes of action off the bench, Monk dropped a career-high 45 points while shooting 62 percent from the field and 50 percent from long range. Monk’s point production was particularly impressive as most of it came in the fourth quarter and overtime periods. Manach dropped 16 in the fourth, six in the first overtime and eight in the second OT. Without his performance, Sacramento does not win.

Along with some solid shooting, Mank’s performance was highlighted by a couple of great finishes at the rim, including the two-handed jam he threw down in transition in overtime:

This is the second time in Manach’s career that he had a 40-point game, as he scored 41 against the Nuggets as a member of the Lakers last April. His 45 points against the Clippers on Friday night are the most by a player off the bench this season.

Leonard high post with Clippers

Kawhi Leonard didn’t set a career high on Friday night, but he did score more points than ever in a Clippers uniform. He finished the tournament with 44 points, one shy of his personal best. He scored 45 points against the Jazz as a member of the Raptors in 2019.

In 46 minutes against Sacramento, Leonard missed just six shots from the floor and added four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Leonard has been coming into form in recent weeks, and this was his best game of the current campaign. It didn’t result in a win, but the Clips should feel good about their prospects moving forward knowing that Leonard is still capable of putting on performances like this. If they can make it to the postseason in full swing, they will be a dangerous team that no one wants to see in a series.

Side note: According to StatMuseit’s the first time Leonard has ever lost a game in which he scored 40-plus points.

Fox continues to build a clutch campaign

De’Aaron Fox, the front-runner to win the NBA’s Clutch Player of the Year Award, currently sits atop’s Clutch Ladder, and he backed his case with his play down the stretch Friday night.

Along with Monk, Fox made play after play down the stretch of this game to keep the Kings in it, and ultimately help them to victory. When Domantas Sabonis fouled out the game, the Kings turned to Fox, and he delivered, just like he has all season. He finished the game with 42 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and five steals, and also connected on the game-winning shot:

Together, he and Monk made some Kings history by being the first pair of teammates to both score at least 40 points in the same game.

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