Clippers beat Knicks in clash of division leaders
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Reserves Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe led a fourth-quarter surge that carried the visiting Los Angeles Clippers to a 102-88 victory over the New York Knicks in a battle of NBA division leaders on Sunday.
The victory improved the Pacific-leading Clippers to 36-17, healthy again after losing eight of their last 11 games while dealing with a slew of injuries.
The Atlantic Division-leading New York, who had been 19-6 at Madison Square Garden this season, dropped to 32-17 despite 42 points from Carmelo Anthony.
"It was a team effort," said Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro. "Everybody stepped up at some point."
Los Angeles were coming off a 22-point drubbing by the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat on Friday when they had their full complement of players for the first time this season.
But in the early Garden matinee on a frigid day in New York, the Clippers showed off their depth and balance.
"Friday we were pretty bad," Clippers forward Blake Griffin said. "We had lapses defensively, especially trying to slow down Melo (Anthony), but overall I thought we did a much better job as far as communicating, rotating and playing team basketball."
Crawford and Bledsoe combined for 13 of the Clippers' first 15 points in the final quarter as Los Angeles extended a narrow 71-70 third-quarter lead to an 86-77 bulge midway through the fourth. Continued...