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Knicks-Clippers Preview

AP - Sports

The stars usually show up when the New York Knicks visit Los Angeles, but it's unclear this time if the club's All-Stars will be on the court.

Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler are listed as questionable for the Knicks as they face the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday in a matchup of struggling division leaders.

New York (38-25) has been blown out in dropping the first three games of this five-game trip to see its Atlantic Division lead over Brooklyn cut to one game. The Knicks were without Anthony and Chandler in Thursday's 105-90 loss at Portland.

The All-Stars were hurt in Wednesday's 117-94 loss at Denver. Anthony returned to New York to have his right knee drained after leaving that contest early while Chandler suffered a bruised knee in a collision.

The Knicks have lost by an average of 22.4 points on this trip.

"I've got to do a better job of getting these guys over this hump," coach Mike Woodson said. "Right now, it's tough times. We've lost some games out here on the road."

Los Angeles (45-21) is in much better position to win its first division title, leading Golden State by 8 1/2 games in the Pacific. The Clippers, however, are in a tight race with Memphis and Denver to gain home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Chris Paul scored 24 points and Blake Griffin added 22 in Los Angeles' third loss in five games, 96-85 at home to the Grizzlies on Friday.

"I could care less what seed we are," Paul said. "We just need to be playing the right way when the time comes, and we're not there yet.''

This contest features the NBA's best bench scorers in the Clippers' Jamal Crawford (16.9 points per game) and the Knicks' J.R. Smith (16.7).

Crawford, however, made 1 of 10 shots for two points Friday after missing two games with a sore ankle. The former Knicks guard scored a team-high 27 in a 102-88 victory at New York on Feb. 10.

Smith, meanwhile, tried to pick up the slack Thursday without Anthony's 27.5 points per game. The shooting guard scored 33 for his second-highest total of the season.

Smith was held to six points against the Clippers last month, as Crawford's effort helped Los Angeles post a 48-15 edge in bench points. The Knicks got 42 points from Anthony and had Amare Stoudemire available for that matchup as well.

Now New York is unsure who will suit up Sunday.

"We've got a big game on Sunday in LA so we've got to come ready to play," Woodson said.

The Clippers would get a boost by the return of Caron Butler, who missed Friday's game with a strained left elbow.

"I feel like it's going to be a strong possibility that I play Sunday," Butler told the Clippers' official website. "I'm feeling better every day and every treatment session."

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