Five Takeaways: Clippers Come From Behind To Edge Knicks
NEW YORK – The Clippers (32-21) snapped a three-game losing skid in come from behind fashion, overcoming a seven-point deficit entering the fourth quarter to take care of the Knicks (22-32).
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers’ 119-115 win.
Quote of the Night: “At this point, any win is very important. The way we got it, being down 10 in the fourth, guys fighting, guys scrapping, coming up with stops down the stretch, Jamal was huge, DJ was huge, everybody just played the right way down the stretch. But we’ve got to put that together for 48 minutes.” – Blake Griffin
1) Griffin still dominating – Griffin picked up where he left off from his triple-double in Toronto, pouring in 18 points in the first quarter alone. He used every bit of his offensive skillset, throwing down dunks, getting to the line and stepping beyond the arc again. Prior to Monday’s game against the Raptors, Griffin hadn’t hit multiple 3-pointers in a game this season. Since then, he’s now done it twice. Griffin finished with a season-high 32 points, the most any Clipper has scored in a game this season, marking his fifth straight game scoring at least 23 points.
2) Rivers dishes, Jordan delivers with more touches – Austin Rivers delivered a career-high 10 assists, as the Clippers continued to find ways to find DeAndre Jordan on rolls. Jordan hadn’t taken more than six shot attempts in a game all month before finishing 11-for-13 from the floor Wednesday on his way to 28 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks, both of which came at the end of the game with the Clippers needing stops. Jordan scored 10 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, routinely cleaning up misses, including a tip shot with 29 seconds left to put the Clippers ahead by four points.
3) Crawford, Clippers come up clutch – Crawford scored nine of his 20 points off the bench in the fourth quarter, sparking the Clippers to a 7-0 run after they fell behind 111-109 with 1:55 left following a Kristaps Porzingis dunk. Crawford hit a long jumper to tie the game and a go-ahead 3-pointer before a DeAndre Jordan layup, which put the Clippers ahead by five points with 55 seconds left. The Clippers, who were playing catch up all game, were finally able to jump ahead, withstanding a Knicks attack that had scored 95 points through three quarters.
4) Persevering through defensive struggles – Head coach Doc Rivers knows it’s the Clippers’ defense, which ranked last in the NBA over their last 10 games, which had put the Clippers in a 2-7 slump their nine games prior to Wednesday. “We kind of pride ourselves on that, and the last 10 games, we’ve given up 118 points a night,” Rivers said before the game. “It’s hard to win games that way.” Rivers said the issues – mostly help defense and on pick-and-rolls – can be corrected. For three quarters, it was a struggle again, but there were longer stretches of strong play on that end in the final quarter, holding the Knicks to 20 points in the fourth.
The teams traded buckets throughout the first few quarters, with the first quarter tied at 36 and the Clippers actually leading at the half despite allowing 67 points. While it was still shaky in the second half (Jordan blocked a Kyle O’Quinn shot with 4:10 left to force a 24-second violation, then shortly after the Clippers allowed wide open looks to Porzingis), Jordan and the Clippers’ defense got enough consecutive stops late to mount a comeback. “We were able to get stops late in the game, but our defense still has to get better,” Jordan said.
5) Feeling nice in New York – The victory marked the Clippers’ ninth straight win against the Knicks – their longest active win streak against any opponent and their longest win streak against New York in team history. Crawford has always enjoyed playing at Madison Square Garden, and his 20-point night gave him his 72nd career game with at least 20 points in the building, second all-time among active players behind only Carmelo Anthony, who had 28 points.
What’s Next? – The Clippers play Saturday at Charlotte.