Kings beat Clippers, 176-175, in second-highest scoring NBA game ever


LOS ANGELES — The first indication that Friday was unusual came when a torrential storm dropped snow near the iconic Hollywood sign.

The second came when the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers put on an offensive show for the ages, combining to score 351 points in a double-overtime classic, marking the second-highest scoring game in NBA history.

Thanks to multiple comebacks, the Kings prevailed, 176–175, spoiling Russell Westbrook’s debut with the Clippers and prompting thousands of Sacramento fans to chant “Light the beam!” when the final buzzer sounded.

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This was a shootout from start to finish: the two teams were tied at 40 after one quarter, and then the Clippers led 80–76 at halftime and 117–110 after three quarters. The two teams finished regulation tied at 153 and were still deadlocked at 164 after the first overtime period. Ultimately, the Kings outscored the Clippers, 12–11, in the second extra period to deliver the eye-popping final margin.

Only once has an NBA game seen more offensive fireworks: The Detroit Pistons beat the Denver Nuggets, 186–184, on Dec. 13, 1983, for a combined score of 370 points in three overtimes. The Kings and Clippers combined to smash the previous record for the second-highest score, 337 points in the San Antonio Spurs’ 171–166 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on March 6, 1982, in three overtimes.

The final box score needs to be seen to be believed. The Kings set a new franchise scoring record, surpassing the 165 points scored by the then-Cincinnati Royals against the San Diego Rockets in 1970. Since moving to Sacramento in 1985, the Kings’ previous best mark was 154 points in a 1993 blowout victory over The Philadelphia 76ers.

The Clippers also set a franchise scoring record, topping the 153 points they scored against the Milwaukee Bucks on April 1, 2022. Meanwhile, Los Angeles connected on 26 three-pointers to set another franchise record.

Entering Friday, NBA teams were scoring 114.4 points per game, the highest average since 1969–70. But even by the standards of the ongoing scoring boom, this contest was in a category all to itself.

Kings coach Mike Brown, for one, said he doesn’t want games in the 170s to become the norm.

“I already take a baby aspirin daily,” Brown quipped. “I hope not. Because then I’d have to go to two daily aspirin. Let’s keep it a little lower, with us hopefully winning at a little bit bigger margin.”

Unsurprisingly, almost everyone who took the court got his share of buckets on Friday, as 14 players — seven from each side — finished in double figures. Kings guard Malik Monk led all scorers with a career-high 45 points, while De’Aaron Fox added a season-high 42 points in the win.

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“Truth be told, there was defense being played, but there were tough shots being made,” Fox said. “Out of the [219 total] shots, watch how many were tough makes. Watch all the makes. There were a lot of tough shots going in, and that’s a testament to the talent in the league and also the pace we’re playing at. There was a very high level of shot-making. A lot of guys in this league, unless you’re blocking their shot — especially once they see it go in two or three times — there’s not really much you can do about it.”

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard finished with a team-high 44 points, one shy of matching his career-high, and Paul George added 34 points in a losing effort.

“Crazy,” Leonard said. “Everyone was making shots out there. Threes, layups, getting to the free throw line. It was ridiculous.

Among the other notable numbers: The Kings attempted 111 shots, scored 88 points in the paint and tallied 42 points off the Clippers’ 25 turnovers. The two teams also combined to attempt 86 three-pointers and 71 free throws.

Remarkably, the Kings erased a 14-point deficit in the final four minutes of regulation, a six-point deficit in the final three minutes of the first overtime and a six-point deficit in the final 1:50 of the second overtime period. To squeak out the win, Monk hit a game-tying three-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining in regulation and a pair of game-tying free throws with 20.4 seconds remaining in the first overtime.

Then, with the Clippers leading, 175–169, with less than two minutes to play in the second overtime, the Kings went on a 7–0 closing run. Fox finished off the win with a go-ahead jumper with 36 seconds to play.

“We just had our heads up,” Monk said. “We knew they were going to let us back in it. Stick with it.

Clippers forward Nicolas Batum missed a potential game-winning three-pointer just before the buzzer sounded. Monk tossed the ball high in the air to celebrate the marathon victory, which came on the second night of a back-to-back, as the Kings had beaten the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.

With the win, Sacramento improved to 34–25, moving to the Western Conference’s No. 3 seeds. The Kings are on track to snap a 16-year run without reaching the postseason, the NBA’s longest current playoff drought.

“I don’t give a f— who’s over there,” Fox said, when asked about Westbrook’s debut with the Clippers. “We’re coming. We worry about us.

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