That was the kind of start to a long trip that the Los Angeles Clippers wanted, considering the way they had been playing.
They had lost three of their last four games, including a defeat at Staples Center on Tuesday night, the last game before a six-game, 10-day trip.
The 108-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night at Power Balance Pavilion allowed the Clippers to move in the right direction.
“You always want to start out a road trip with a win, especially a long road trip like this,” said Blake Griffin, who had 14 points and nine rebounds in just 30 minutes. “To get this one was important.”
And because it was a blowout, it allowed Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro to keep his starters’ minutes down, none of them playing more than over 33 minutes.
That was needed because the Clippers play back-to-back games to start this trip, their next contest being Friday night in Phoenix.
It also was needed because the Clippers start the trip playing four games in five nights.
“We got good production so our starters could get some rest and we’re going to need that, especially with the schedule and playing four in five nights and the whole month of March,” said Del Negro, referring to the Clippers playing 20 games in 31 days this month. “It’s a good road win to start.”
The starters didn’t have to play heavy minutes because the Clippers’ bench was so productive.
Of the six Clippers that scored in double figures, two were reserves.
“It was a real good bench night for us and we need that,” Del Negro said. “We need consistency there, more so on the defensive end.”
The Clippers got 41 points off their bench.
Mo Williams led the way with 18 points.
He made seven of 14 shots from the field, four of seven from three-point range. Williams also had five assists and three steals.
Williams’ 12 points in the fourth quarter helped break the game open for the Clippers.
His three-pointer to open the fourth quarter boosted the Clippers’ lead to nine points.
His back-to-back three-pointers off assists from Chris Paul (22 points, nine assists, three steals) gave the Clippers a 15-point lead.
“Sometimes the starters have got it rolling and sometimes we come off the bench and have nights like tonight,” Williams said. “We provided a big lift. That’s what it’s all about.”
Bobby Simmons was another key player off the bench for the Clippers.
Simmons, who just signed a 10-day contract Monday, had 13 points. He made five of his eight shots and missed only one of his four three-pointers.
“I think our job is backing up the starters,” Simmons said. “We have to play with energy and make great plays. It’s about making shots, rebounding and making stops.”
A big part of the Clippers’ offense came from long distance.
They were 12 of 23 from three-point range, a highly accurate 52.2 percent.
The Clippers have defeated the Kings four of the last five meetings, and they left another impression.
“They are a top-level team,” Kings Coach Keith Smart said. “They make a lot of plays. This is a top team in the league and you have to play a perfect game.”