The Los Angeles Clippers beat the New York Knicks 93-80 Sunday for their third win in five games. The Knicks were without all three of their star players: Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Amare Stoudemire.
Chris Paul led the Clippers to victory with 20 points and eight assists, while Balke Griffin added 12 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double. The Clippers turned the ball over 12 times Sunday, but were able to hold off the Knicks who were without their leading scorer in Anthony.
The Clippers led by as much as 19-points in the the fourth quarter, and stopped every Knicks’ rush near the end to give head coach Vinny Del Negro his 200th career victory. Del Negro spent two seasons with the Chicago Bulls before taking the job with the Clippers in 2010-11.
Raymond Felton led the Knicks with 16 points and nine assists in the loss, while J.R. Smith scored 29 points off the bench. The Knicks have now lost four straight games, but still lead the Brooklyn Nets by a game in the Atlantic Division.
The Clippers hold a very comfortable lead in the Pacific Division at 8.5 games over the Golden State Warriors. The Clippers are just five games back of the San Antonio Spurs for first in the Western Conference and look to be the next team in the West to clinch a playoff berth. The Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder have already earned their spots in the upcoming playoffs.
Both Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler left the Knicks game against the Denver Nuggets last Wednesday and the team has lost both games since. The Knicks will take on the Utah Jazz Monday in hopes of holding on to their short lead in the Atlantic Division.
The Clippers have one of the best transition games in the NBA, and rode late runs against the Knicks to seal the victory. The Clippers take on the Sacramento Kings Tuesday before a match-up with the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have turned the Clippers into a championship caliber team, challenging the Lakers as the best team in Los Angeles. The Clippers beat the Knicks Sunday after stopping multiple runs and starting a few of their own, and are now just four wins away from the franchise record which sits at 49 victories.