GAMEDAY REPORT: CLIPPERS VS. KNICKS - 11/27/13
Game #16 | November 27, 2013
STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, CA
LOS ANGELES – Chris Paul threw a perfect bounce pass to Blake Griffin for a right-handed dunk Wednesday night with 3:21 left in the third quarter.
The visiting Knicks called timeout after the play gave the Clippers a 10-point lead and Paul limped off the court with a strained right hamstring.
Paul did not return to the game, although he was available late in the fourth quarter, and the Clippers didn’t need him. They stymied New York defensively and pulled away for a 93-80 victory at Staples Center.
It was the eighth win in nine home games for the Clippers (11-5), who sent the reeling Knicks (3-11) to their seventh loss in a row.
Paul finished with 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds in 26 minutes. He returned to the bench with less than five minutes remaining in the game and was considered available to return. But as a nine-point lead was extended to 15, Paul remained on the sideline.
“He said he could have come back,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “But there was no chance that he was coming back in.”
While Rivers remained cautious with Paul, his team was putting together an extended stretch of fourth-quarter defense for the second game in a row. On Sunday afternoon they held the Bulls to nine points in the final 12 minutes and until a meaningless jumper by Andrea Bargnani they nearly duplicated it three days later.
“It’s definitely a sign that things are going in the right direction,” Paul said. “But also we played against two teams that kind of come down and throw it to a guy and stuff like that, so it’s not as up-tempo and fast.”
“It is encouraging,” said Blake Griffin, who secured his ninth double-double in a row with 15 points and 13 rebounds. “I think we’re getting better, but I think we have a lot of improvement left.”
The Clippers outscored the Knicks 19-12 in the fourth quarter and held New York to 38.6 percent from the field for the game. It’s the fourth time in the last five outings they’ve prevented an opponent from shooting better than 42.0 percent.
But the defense was virtually non-existent in the opening few minutes. Carmelo Anthony, who finished with a game-high 27 points, and Bargnani scored 15 of New York’s first 19. Rivers called timeout with his team down nine and helped them reverse course. They used an 11-2 run, capped by an alley-oop to DeAndre Jordan from Paul, to take their first lead and d were up by double-digits midway through the second quarter thanks to their bench.
Darren Collison scored nine point in 22 minutes backing up Paul, including the entire fourth quarter. Jamal Crawford added 13 as L.A. had an overall 34-13 edge in bench points.
“Our bench won the game tonight,” Rivers said. “Our starters had a rare flat first half and our bench came in and got an 11-point lead.”
Rivers has said he wants the Clippers to win games when they struggle to score the ball. They did that on Wednesday by way of a game that seemingly had little flow to it throughout.
“I didn’t think we played particularly well in certain parts of the game, but we did play well in other parts,” Griffin said. “You can’t get too down after a game like this. We’ll take the win, but there are some things we’ve got to work on.”
The fits and starts were most evident in a second quarter where the Clippers reached 40 points with 8:19 to go and managed just nine more in the rest of the half. Crawford buried a 3-pointer from straightaway over J.R. Smith to give L.A. a 40-29 lead, their largest of the game, but an extended cold spell, helped New York close the gap.
The Knicks took a brief lead thanks to a 13-0 run, but a follow dunk by Jordan ended the Clippers’ more than five-minute field goal drought and Paul scored five consecutive points to give the Clippers a four-point lead at the half.
Anthony had 19 points in the opening half, but scored just eight more in the game. He went 9-for-23, including missing three of the Knicks’ 20 3-point attempts. They were 3-for-20 (15 percent) in the game. Griffin said the team honed in on the league’s second-leading scorer more when they came out of the locker room.
“We made sure we gave him a little bit more attention in the post, especially when he put the ball down several times or got to the paint,” Griffin said. “We tried to just get it out of hands and make other guys make plays. We got lucky here and there because he missed some makeable shots, but I thought Jared [Dudley] and whoever else was guarding him in the second half did a good job.”
Dudley addressed the sellout crowd before the game. “We want to wish everyone here a Happy Thanksgiving,” he said. “We’re definitely thankful for you as fans.” … The Clippers are 6-0 at home when leading after the first quarter… Griffin is 12 points away from 5,000 for his career… Rivers is two wins away from 600 for his head-coaching career… Matt Barnes, who missed his fifth game with a retinal tear in his left eye, sat on the Clippers’ bench for the first time since his injury occurred Nov. 18. He said he will be re-evaluated Monday… The Clippers shot 23-of-31 (74.2 percent) from the foul line… New York’s 80 points was a season-low for a Clippers’ opponent…
CROWN ROYAL SHOT OF THE GAME
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on team’s 3-point defense:
Clippers guard Chris Paul on one of the game’s turning points:
“The biggest thing in the game was we called a timeout seven minutes into the game and they had 21 points. At the end of the first quarter I looked down at Blake and said they only scored six more. So, I think that showed that we can out sluggish and we can’t do that.”
Clippers guard J.J. Redick on the necessity of improving as a defensive team:
Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony on his team’s outlook:
Clippers guard Darren Collison on the pace of the game:
“We tried to slow it down. At the same time, we want to get some easy buckets. I think tonight was prime example. When we got in transition we got easy buckets, but when we slowed it down we executed.”
By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten