Clippers 93, Knicks 80

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Maybe it was the green shoes. Or perhaps it was the early tip-off time.
Most likely it was a combination of both while also playing a depleted opponent looking more like a lottery team than a championship contender.
Whatever the case, it took the Los Angeles Clippers a little while to shake the cobwebs off Sunday against the injury ravaged New York Knicks at Staples Center, sloshing about through a sluggish first half before waking up in the third quarter to finally take control.
The result was a 93-80 get-through-it victory in which the Clippers played down to the Knicks in the first half but had more than enough to pull away when needed.
The Knicks, once again playing without stars Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire, did what they could to hang around, but when push came to shove in the second half, they simply could not match the firepower of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and the litany of Clippers weapons at hand.
Paul, efficient as usual, hit 6 of 12 shots and finished with 20 points and eight assists. Griffin had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
In all, five Clippers scored in double figures, with Jamal Crawford chipping in 12 points off the bench. Also scoring 12 points each was Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups.
The short-handed Knicks had no answers after the Clippers' slow start, falling behind by 19 points in the second half while struggling to find any rhythm offensively.
Although they did make the expected late-game run to close within 10 points, the Clippers never appeared in danger and eventually restored order
New York made just 29 of 81 shots from the field for an ice-cold 35.8 percent, and only two starters managed to reach double figures -- Raymond Felton with 16 points and Chris Copeland with 13.
J.R. Smith came off the bench to score 17 points, although it came on 4 of 20 shooting.
Only Steve Novak (3 of 3) and Jason Kidd (4 of 7) hit better than 50-percent of their shots for the Knicks.
It was that kind of day for New York, and while it wasn't much better for the Clippers, Los Angeles had more than enough to pocket the victory.
NOTES: Anthony and Chandler are both nursing nagging knee injuries. Neither practiced with the team Saturday in Los Angeles, with Chandler (left knee contusion) and Anthony, who recently had his right knee drained, playing it cautious while focusing on the big picture of the Knicks season ... The Clippers injury woes continued, although a bit of good news was delivered as Butler, who is dealing with a left elbow strain, was back in the starting lineup after missing Wednesday's home loss to Memphis. On the other hand, back-up point guard Eric Bledsoe was out of action for the third straight game while resting his sore left calf. ... Coming in, Clippers reserve forward Matt Barnes had scored 14 or more points in four straight games for the first time in his career. When Barnes scores 10 or more points, the Clippers are 27-8. ... The Clippers 45-21 record coming in represented the best 66-game start in franchise history.

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