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In bounce-back win over Kings, Clippers show their competitiveness

In bounce-back win over Kings, Clippers show their competitiveness
Clippers point guardChris Paul gets past Kings center DeMarcus Cousins for a layup during the first half. (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

The loss to the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on Wednesday night didn't sit well with the Clippers.

So they were intent on having a bounce-back game right away, the loss grating on them, the idea of losing again to another sub.-500 team not a choice.

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It was not good news for the Sacramento Kings to have to face the fury of the Clippers on Friday night.

The Clippers took out their frustration on the Kings, building a 20-point lead before coasting to a 10-point victory.

"I don't think they like to lose," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said about his team late Friday night. "I don't think it's harder than that. It's nothing I'm doing. It's a very competitive group.

"They like each other. They play together. They don't like losing. They certainly didn't like losing the game the other night [against Denver]. We felt like at halftime that we were playing the same way [against the Kings]. It was really up to them. There was no coaching adjustment. I can tell you that."

This was supposed to be an easy part of the schedule for the Clippers, a four-game stretch in which all the opponents were below .500.

A defeat to the 23-36 Nuggets was proof to the Clippers that nothing is easy in the NBA.

The Kings (24-33) had dropped 67 points on the Clippers at the half, but L.A. had a mind-set of not losing, outscoring Sacramento, 34-16, in the third quarter, dominating the game from that point on.

"I think it's collective," Rivers said about his group. "But I think it's more them. I just coach them and try to put them in the right spot. But they are just a competitive group."

And Chris Paul is the most competitive of them all.

Paul played through an injured right forearm and left calf and bruised left thigh.

He scored a season-high 40 points, seemingly willing his body to play through the pain.

The Clippers didn't practice Saturday and don't play again until Monday night when they host Brooklyn at Staples Center, allowing Paul time to heal and rest his body.

"He's just as tough as they come," Rivers said. "We tried to keep his minutes down to a manageable point, which we did. But he's just a tough kid. He knows we've got a couple of days off so he can get right. He didn't have any bad injuries. He just has little nagging bangs. So he'll be fine."

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Austin Rivers injury update

Rivers said Austin Rivers, who has been out almost three weeks because of a broken left hand, has made enough progress that when the Clippers practice Sunday, the backup guard could participate.

"I think Austin may be able to practice, which would be good for us," Doc Rivers said. "That would allow CP not to practice."

Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner

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