Clippers Get Big Road Win Against Knicks

Published on: 10th February, 2013


Chris Paul
Clippers Get Big Road Win Against Knicks

Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul, right, drives past New York Knicks' Raymond Felton during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday Feb. 10, 2013, in New York. The Clippers won 102-88. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) ** Usable by LA and DC Only **  | read this item

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NEW YORK — Make no mistake about it. The team formerly derided as the “Paper Clips” are now the real article. They are the Kings of El Lay. The best team in southern California. The team Kobe probably wishes he played for as he goes for his sixth NBA championship.

L.A.’s team came into Madison Square Garden this afternoon and gave the Knicks a good, old-fashioned spanking in their matinee matchup, 102-88. They did so in stylish fashion behind the kind of star-power a town like Los Angeles has a real appreciation for. With guys like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, playing alongside former stars like veterans Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Chauncey Billups, and Caron Butler, the Clippers have excited their famous celebrity fans like Billy Crystal and the Kardashian Sisters like no other team in that market since, well, since the Los Angeles Lakers of 2009-2010.

Blake Griffin Even Hit Two 15-Foot Jump Shots Today Against Knicks

Today, Paul, back for only his second game since being injured two weeks ago, scored 25-points while former Knick, Jamal Crawford came off the bench to hit for 27, to lead the Clippers but they gave credit to the 40-year old warhorse, Hill, the former Duke All- American who came into the league in 1994, a whole different millenium.

“I think the game ball goes to Grant,” Paul said.

Hill led the defensive effort that limited Carmelo Anthony to one basket in the fourth quarter, and Los Angeles pulled away for a 102-88 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday.

Anthony scored 42 points in his fifth 40-point game of the season, but took only two shots in the final period while defended by Hill, who didn’t even play in the first half but was on the floor for the final 15:21.

“I think that Grant Hill sitting on the bench the whole time, he came in and provided a great presence out there on Melo. I don’t think we win that game without him,” Crawford said.

Griffin was his usual athletic, high-flying self, finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who bounced back from a 22-point loss in Miami on Friday to win for just the fourth time in 12 games. They finish off their eight-game Grammys road trip Monday in Philadelphia.

“Jamal, Chris, Blake, I mean everybody, it was a team effort. Everybody stepped up at some point,” coach Vinny Del Negro said.

Raymond Felton scored 20 points for the Knicks, who lost for the second time in eight games and wrap up their successful first half Wednesday against Toronto. J.R. Smith was only 1 for 9 from the field, getting badly outplayed by Crawford in a matchup of top NBA reserves.

Paul added seven assists and six rebounds after being held to a season-low three points Friday in Miami. He had missed nine straight and 12 of the previous 14 games with a bruised right kneecap, and an excellent Clippers season hit a rocky patch without him.

Paul scored 16 points in the first half, then had five in a row down the stretch to hold off the Knicks comeback attempt.

Anthony had four points in the final period after he had scored 18 in the third. He said the Clippers made a defensive adjustment, changing their pick-and-roll coverage and sending another defender at him.

“There’s four other guys on the basketball court, we’ve just got to make plays and we’ve been doing that all season long,” Anthony said. “Tonight, today we didn’t make plays in the fourth quarter and we didn’t win the game.”

The Clippers are finally getting healthier, with Billups also rejoining the lineup Friday, though Del Negro said they still had to balance watching players’ minutes to keep the long-term in mind against trying to win the game.

Having one of the NBA’s best benches helps. He didn’t even have Paul or Griffin in the game, leaving it to Crawford, the leading candidate for the NBA’s sixth man award, and Bledsoe to help Los Angeles open a decisive lead in the fourth quarter.

Hill came on in the third quarter after Butler was lost to a sore lower back and nobody else was having any success against Anthony, and made him work to even get the ball where he wanted it.

“I’ve battled against him. He’s a great player,” Hill said. “I have as much respect for him. He’s one of my favorite players to watch but you try to do things to make it difficult. You’ve to have selective memory because when he hits a shot, you’ve just got to be able to move on to the next play. He’s a great player.”

Bledsoe made all six shots and finished with 13 points as the Clippers’ bench outscored the Knicks’ 48-15.

“Things happen, man. Just sometimes it’s one of those nights when shots don’t fall,” Felton said. “Our bench has been great for us all year, and sometimes the ball don’t just go in the basket for you and it was one of those days.”

The Clippers scored the final five points of the first quarter for a 22-17 lead, then opened the second with eight in a row to go up 30-17 on a pair of free throws by Matt Barnes. They led 52-44 at halftime.

Anthony got on one of his blistering streaks in the third, scoring 11 points in under 4 1/2 minutes, including a 3-pointer that gave the Knicks a 61-60 lead. It went back and forth from there until he capped his 18-point period with a 3-pointer with 28 seconds remaining that cut the Clippers’ edge to 71-70 heading to the fourth.

But after Amare Stoudemire’s three-point play to open the quarter, the Clippers scored 15 of the next 19 points, taking an 86-77 lead on Crawford’s basket with about 7 minutes left.

The Knicks fell behind by 12 later in the period before getting within six with under 3 minutes left. Paul then scored five straight points to push it back to 11 and put it away.

Of real concern to Woodson must be the growing evidence that his backcourt can often be mismatched against younger, more athletic, quicker backcourts. Today. the Clippers trio of Paul, Bledsoe, and Crawford outscored the Knicks’ Felton, Kidd, Shumpert, and J.R. Smith by 65 to 31, 20 0f which was scored by Felton.

The guess here is the upcoming NBA trading deadline of February XX will see some activity on the Knicks part to bolster their scoring output from the backcourt. Rumors are flying from Phoenix that the Knicks are discussing a deal for Jared Dudley, a 6’6″ scoring guard. The trading chip, at this stage seems to be one of Woodson’s favorites, Iman Shumpert. Stay tuned.

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