Notebook: Clippers 93, Knicks 80

Posted Mar 17, 2013 7:20 PM

By Dan Arritt, For

THE FACTS: The Knicks limped into Staples Center on Sunday afternoon, setting up shop without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony and leading rebounder Tyson Chandler. The Clippers showed no mercy, hammering the visitors with an assortment of drives and dunks that added up to a 93-80 victory Sunday in front of the 84th consecutive sold-out crowd.

Chris Paul had a game-high 20 points for the Clippers. J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 17 points, but on 4-for-20 shooting.

QUOTABLE: "Obviously, they have some players out. ... But, we got the result we wanted and I'm pleased with that."

--Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro

THE STAT: The Clippers (46-21) are at their best when they jump out to an early lead. They led 21-18 after the opening quarter against the Knicks (38-26), improving to 35-2 this season when they lead after the first frame, the best mark in the NBA.

TURNING POINT: The Knicks got off to a good start, scoring eight of the game's first nine points and stretching the lead to eight four minutes into the game. They were still within three points early in the third quarter when the Clippers decided they'd seen enough of the injury-riddled Knicks, knocking out an 11-1 run highlighted by two Blake Griffin dunks that put them ahead by double digits until the game's closing minutes.

HOT: Clippers center DeAndre Jordan was the immediate beneficiary of New York's injury woes. He scored six of his eight points and grabbed six of his 10 rebounds in the opening quarter, which also included a spectacular windmill dunk. Griffin took over in the second half, scoring eight of his 12 points and grabbing eight of his 12 rebounds.

QUOTABLE II: "I liked [Griffin's] activity on the glass, which was important. And he had a few assists in the second half, opening things up when they came on the double."

--Vinny Del Negro

NOT: The Knicks shot 35.8 percent from the floor, led by a 4-for-20 effort from Smith. The Clippers committed six turnovers in the opening quarter, but limited themselves to six the rest of the game. Clippers backup guard Jamal Crawford shot 5-for-15 from the field and is 6-for-25 since returning from a two-game absence with an ankle injury. Griffin and Jordan combined to miss all nine of their free-throw attempts.

GOOD MOVE: Griffin doesn't mind that Jordan has been getting a lot of notice recently for his above-the-rim style of play. Folks are still buzzing about his dunk last Sunday against the Pistons, in which he nearly stuffed Brandon Knight through the floor with his follow through. Griffin had his chance to make a highlight-reel dunk midway through the second half and he didn't let the opportunity pass him by. He was trailing a three-on-one break with Crawford and Paul when CP3 threw up an underhanded lob that Griffin caught behind his head about six feet from the basket and at eye level with the rim. He finished with a windmill dunk that nearly took down the stanchion, while stretching L.A.'s lead to 62-47.

BAD MOVE: Already thin on big men, the Knicks got even thinner early in the second half when Kenyon Martin was whistled for his fourth foul while batting Jordan for a rebound. Two minutes later, starting center Kurt Thomas went to the bench with his fourth foul after getting tangled up underneath the basket with Griffin. The Knicks were forced to bring 6-foot-8 rookie forward Chris Copeland back into the game to guard the 6-11 Jordan. It's probably no surprised that it was at this point of the game that the Clippers began to pull away.

NOTABLE: Clippers backup point guard Eric Bledsoe (sore left calf) and reserve forward Rony Turiaf (sore left knee) were inactive. Caron Butler returned after missing Wednesday's loss against the visiting Grizzlies with a sprained left elbow. He finished with 14 points and five rebounds. ... Del Negro recorded his 200th career victory, becoming the 16th active coach to reach that milestone. ... The Clippers moved back into sole possession of third place in the West.

UP NEXT: For the Clippers, Tuesday @ Sacramento, Wednesday vs. Philadelphia, Saturday vs. Brooklyn. For the Knicks, Monday @ Utah, Wednesday vs. Orlando, Friday @ Toronto.