Finally healthy, the Los Angeles Clippers are playing some of their best basketball of the season.
The visiting Clippers look to match a season high with a third consecutive victory Friday night, as they try to defeat the New York Knicks for the fifth straight time.
Eric Gordon(notes) scored 25 points, Rasual Butler(notes) added 21 off the bench and Chris Kaman(notes) had 23 with 10 rebounds as the Los Angeles (11-13) opened a six-game road trip with a 120-95 win over Minnesota on Wednesday.
Marcus Camby(notes) had 10 points with 18 rebounds and Baron Davis(notes) added 13 and 13 assists as the Clippers posted season highs in points and assists (30) en route to their seventh win in 11 games following a 4-9 start.
The team’s improved play is partially because the 7-foot Kaman (19.1 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game) and point guard Davis (16.0 ppg, 7.5 assists per game) are healthy at the same time.
Injuries limited Kaman and Davis to 28 games together in 2008-09, including 14 in the final five months. The pair has already played 24 games together this season.
“It’s kind of like a quarterback and a wide receiver,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. “I don’t know how long it takes guys to get chemistry, but Baron and Kaman are starting to develop a chemistry to where they play.”
With also Camby healthy after missing 20 games last season, and Gordon averaging 18.4 points, 3.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds despite missing nine games due to a sore groin, the Clippers are eight wins shy of their total from all of 2008-09.
“All around, we’ve been playing better,” said Kaman, averaging 19.4 points and 10.2 rebounds in his last five games. “Guys are getting more comfortable playing with each other and it’s been good so far.”
The Clippers are limiting opponents to 93.3 points in their last 10 games.
Los Angeles’ offense has made the difference against New York. The Clippers are averaging 113.8 points during their four-game winning streak in this series.
Al Thornton(notes) had 21 points and Gordon added 19 in the Clippers’ 140-135 overtime victory at Madison Square Garden on March 25. Gordon scored 30 points and Davis had 20 assists in a 128-124 home win over the Knicks on Feb. 11.
The Knicks (8-17) won four in a row earlier this month, but are now looking to avoid a third straight loss after falling 98-89 at Chicago on Thursday.
Al Harrington(notes) scored 16 of his 18 points in the first period, but New York couldn’t hold an early 17-point lead. New York shot a season-low 36.0 percent and finished 16 of 47 from 3-point range, setting an NBA season high for 3-point tries and falling two shy of the all-time record.
“That’s our game,” said guard Chris Duhon(notes), who also scored 18 points and is averaging 19.3 in his last three contests. “We’re not going to go away from it. We’re going to keep shooting it. If we’re open, we shoot it.”
Harrington, averaging 19.7 points, had 38 in the March loss to the Clippers.