Facing his former team for the first time since a November trade, the veteran forward looks to help the Clippers to a 10th straight home victory over the Knicks on Wednesday night.
Randolph averaged 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds when his stay in New York ended after spending a little over one season with the club. With the Knicks aiming to cut salaries in the hope of pursuing future free agents like LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, Randolph and reserve Mardy Collins were traded to Los Angeles on Nov. 21 for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas.
Despite missing 19 games with a bruised left knee, Randolph has played well for the Clippers, averaging 22.8 points and 9.4 rebounds in 19 games with his third team in eight seasons.
Filling the inside void left when Elton Brand signed with Philadelphia in the offseason, the 6-foot-9 Randolph had 20 points and 10 rebounds in a 94-73 loss at Charlotte on Monday.
“We feel that the move will help us both now and in the future,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said of Randolph, who is averaging 26.7 points in his last three games. “He is a 27-year old highly-skilled scorer and rebounder.”
While Randolph has been a bright spot, the Clippers (12-40) have the third-fewest wins in the NBA and return home off a 2-5 road trip.
Despite another strong effort from Randolph and 17 points from rookie Eric Gordon, Los Angeles matched a season low for points while shooting 39.0 percent Monday.
“The last game of a trip, I know how these games can be tough,” said Clippers center Marcus Camby, also a former Knick. “Especially right before the All-Star break, you tend to lose a little focus. Your mind is elsewhere.”
With one game to go before the break, Los Angeles hopes to continue its home dominance over the Knicks.
Looking to snap a five-game losing streak overall, New York (21-30) will try to beat the Clippers on the road for the first time since a 77-76 victory on March 25, 1998.
The injury-riddled Knicks didn’t show much defensively by allowing a season high for points in a 144-127 loss at Golden State on Tuesday. New York is giving up 119.2 points during its current skid - 11.8 more than opponents are averaging against them this season.
With Quentin Richardson (bruised chest) out, and Thomas (groin) and guard Chris Duhon (sprained ankle) injured in Tuesday’s contest, the Knicks couldn’t stop the Warriors from shooting 55.3 percent from the field.
“I thought we got physically outmanned,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. ” I just thought that they ran out of gas.”
It’s uncertain if any of the injured players will be available for this game.
Lee, averaging career highs with 16.4 points and 11.7 rebounds, has posted 15 straight double-doubles, but has totaled only 32 points in five career games versus the Clippers.