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Clippers bench, Chris Paul too much for Carmelo Anthony alone in L.A. win

Feb 10, 2013, 4:31 PM EDT

Chris Paul AP

Carmelo Anthony tried — he took over the game in the third quarter, put up 42 points for the game and lifted the Knicks to the lead.

But the Clippers took control of the game again when their bench returned to start the fourth — Los Angeles got 48 points from their bench on the game, led by 27 from Jamal Crawford, compared to the Knicks 15 from the bench.

Throw in Chris Paul looking like his old self and controlling the game down the stretch and you get the Clippers with a comfortable 102-88 win in Madison Square Garden Sunday.

For the Clippers, this was the kind of win they needed after a tough stretch — this game showed exactly how much Paul means to them. He finished with 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting with 7 assists, but that line doesn’t do justice to what a floor general he is and how he controls a game. Down the stretch of this game he was the best player on the court.

But he had the advantage of a lead thanks to that Clippers bench.

In the first half it was the Clippers bench that sparked a 13-0 late in the first quarter into the second that gave the Clippers a lead they held through the break. The Clippers bench was aggressive on defense, forced turnovers and turned those into easy baskets going the other way. The Knicks also started the game 3-of-13 from three, leading to long rebounds and transition chances for the Clippers, where they finish as well as anyone in the league.

Eric Bledsoe had a monster game off the Clippers’ bench — he had a trade showcase kind of game on national television. Back in his comfortable role off the bench he had 13 points on 6-of-6 shooting with four assists and three blocks (including one of Amar’e Stoudemire at the rim.

The Knicks got back in it because Carmelo Anthony owned the third quarter. In the quarter he shot 7-for-10 for 18 points, knocking down threes and abusing everyone who guarded him. From right side of floor he was killing it shooting 8-of-10 in first three quarters. The Clippers didn’t have any answers.

At the start of the fourth they had two — the bench again, which came in and once again stretched out that lead.

They also had Grant Hill take over guarding Carmelo Anthony and he did a good job of denying the ball and forcing the Knicks to look at other options. ‘Melo had four points on 1-of-2 shooting in the fourth quarter and with him out nobody else really stepped up. Raymond Felton had 20 points but needed 18 shots to get them, no other Knick scored in double digits.

Meanwhile, the Clippers had their groove back and a double-digit lead. You knew it was the Clippers night when Griffin hit back-to-back 17-foot jumpers.

The game meant a lot more for the Clippers — who have struggled with Paul out — than for the Knicks. For New York, it’s just another one of those games that leaves you asking how good this team really is as we start to think about the playoffs.

  1. jmclarkent - Feb 10, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    J.R. Smith and Amare wilted in the big game. For NY to make noise in the playoffs both of those guys are going to need to man up.

    • saint1997 - Feb 11, 2013 at 2:09 AM

      I get what you’re saying, but they have been great in other nationally televised games. It’s not as if JR doesn’t love the pressure (see his 2 buzzer beaters earlier this season) and I think it is a bit strange to question the Knicks legitimacy as title contenders because of one bad game and then Kurt gets all loving with the Clips who have just had a 6-6 stretch. I know he hates the Knicks for some reason but we shouldn’t blow up and make generalising claims here

      • Kurt Helin - Feb 11, 2013 at 7:27 AM

        I question the Knicks ability to contend after watching them a lot this season. This game just fit the mold.

      • saint1997 - Feb 12, 2013 at 2:07 AM

        What is it about the Knicks that you question? They’ve had some injuries to big guys which has affected their rebounding I’ll admit. But their 3 point shooting, bench and star players have been phenomenal almost every game. Also their defence has not been bad seeing as they have been without Shumpert, and in fact rank number 1 in second half defence in the league

      • mojo2028 - Feb 11, 2013 at 9:18 AM

        Kurt, what exactly do you question that fits into the Knicks mold this season? Haven’t they beat good teams this season like the Heat, Nets, Spurs, twice?

      • Kurt Helin - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:50 PM

        Regular season wins are moot in predicting playoff series. Look at the last couple years for numerous examples.

      • dko83 - Feb 11, 2013 at 5:42 PM

        We all probably see the Heat vs. Knicks/Bulls/Celtics (yes, Celtics.. plz count them out) in the ECF. My guess is Heat/Knicks. I tend to agree with Kurt. Knicks seem like a team that needs to be hitting all their 3’s to beat the Heat. Can they do that for 4 games? Can’t wait to find out.

  2. timb12 - Feb 10, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    Blake Griffin looked lazy for a large chunk of this game. He wasn’t as aggressive as he normally is. It was strange to watch.

  3. frankiebooboo - Feb 10, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Maybe the rest of the Knicks need to eat their Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast too

  4. jimeejohnson - Feb 10, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    Mr. Wright: you were wrong.

  5. dysraw1 - Feb 10, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    another game to test our metal and we fail, with mr.Rudy Gay the rapts are a different animal beaware don’t get bit again.

  6. mat9844 - Feb 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Love seeing the Clippers back with everyone healthy! Great team win.

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