It took some time for the playoff-bound Clippers to dispatch the lowly Sacramento Kings on Saturday. But after leading by just two points rather early in the fourth quarter, they turned up the heat and came away with a 117-101 victory before 19,060 at Staples Center.

It was the Clippers’ 134th consecutive sellout.

Perhaps the best element of the game for the Clippers was that it marked the return of sixth man Jamal Crawford, who had missed the previous five games and 13 of 19 with a nagging left calf injury.

Crawford started slowly, making just one of his first five shots. But he came through when his team needed him the most, burying back-to-back 3-pointers that took the Clippers from a 97-91 lead to 103-91 with just over five minutes to play in the game. The Clippers led 91-89 with 8:55 left.

“Jamal Crawford looked great,” Chris Paul said. “We had a tough practice yesterday where we got after it and those two 3s he hit were Jamal Crawford style. Big shots for us, and we needed it.”

Crawford had vowed to be back before the playoffs because he didn’t want the playoffs themselves to mark his return. Blake Griffin gets that.

“Rhythm-wise, I think it’s nice to always play a few games and not just be thrown out there in the playoffs,” Griffin said. “And Jamal is an easy guy to play with. Sometimes we just throw him the ball and say, ‘Go do what you do.’”

Crawford finished with 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting, 2 of 4 from 3-point range. He said he expects to be sore from the 19-plus minutes he played, but he seemed stoked about his work.

“I knew I would be rusty, but I felt more confident as the game went on,” said Crawford, who said he was feeling good enough to dunk in practice Friday.

The two big 3-pointers were solid in every way, he said.

“Yeah, my legs were in it and I felt really comfortable shooting,” he said.

Griffin led the Clippers (56-24) with 27 points and nine assists. DeAndre Jordan had 21 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks but he was just 3 of 11 from the free-throw line. Paul scored 17 points with 10 assists and seven rebounds, J.J. Redick had 13 points and Matt Barnes 12.

DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings (27-53) with 32 points and 12 rebounds, Rudy Gay scored 16 and Reggie Evans had 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Sacramento’s Ben McLemore, who scored 14 points, was ejected early in the fourth quarter after receiving his second technical foul for trying too hard to get defender Redick off of him; it appeared McLemore kind of pushed Redick in the face.

“That’s the crazy thing about it, I’ve never been kicked out of a game in my life,” McLemore said.

All that said, one has to wonder if the Clippers aren’t growing a bit tired of the regular season thereby aching for the playoffs. After all, the Kings came in 25 games under .500 and were right there in the fourth.