The Los Angeles Clippers withstood a 42-point barrage from Carmelo Anthony to defeat the New York Knicks 102-88 on Sunday afternoon, getting the bad taste of a 22-point loss at Miami out of their mouths.
Jamal Crawford led the Clippers with 27 points, Chris Paul put in 25 and Blake Griffin recorded a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds and hit a couple of huge jumpers late in the game.
Los Angeles built a double-digit lead early on, but the Knicks battled back and eventually went ahead in the third quarter. However, the Clippers dominated the fourth, outscoring New York 31-18 as their guards held off the Knicks defense.
Raymond Felton was excellent in this one.
The floor general finished with 20 points and five assists, getting to the basket at will and really opening up the offense for his team when necessary.
He was extremely active on both ends, hustling all over the place for loose balls and putting his body on the line near the rim. This may have been one of his best all-around games this season.
Felton experienced a scary moment in the third quarter, though. Amar'e Stoudemire inadvertently elbowed him into Lamar Odom after making a shot, and his neck wrenched. He had to leave the game, but he returned and started the fourth quarter.
I don't care what the numbers say. Jason Kidd put forth a very good performance against the Clippers.
Yes, he only had three points off 1-of-4 shooting and dished out only one assist, but he played outstanding defense, doing a great job closing out on shooters and playing the passing lanes. (He finished with three steals.)
Kidd has been struggling as of late as he tries to work through back spasms. But today was one of his most active outings in a while.
Mike Woodson must have noticed how well Kidd was playing, as he left him out there for 34 minutes.
Iman Shumpert did not have a good outing. Maybe the trade rumors were affecting him on Sunday, but he looked lost on both ends of the floor.
Shumpert shot 1-of-4 and took some wild shots early in the game. It seemed like he was trying to do too much. His over-aggressiveness resulted in a couple of poor shots and sloppy-looking passes.
Shumpert didn't just struggle on offense, though.
The normally sound defensive guard was frequently left in no man's land and had a hard time covering Paul. Not that defending CP3 is easy, but Shumpert appeared to be overmatched.
The second-year player out of Georgia Tech still needs time to get back into the swing of things, but he hasn't shown much improvement since returning.
Carmelo Anthony compiled yet another 40-point game on Sunday, shooting 14-of-26 from the floor and 5-of-11 from the three-point line in the process.
However, 'Melo did most of his damage during an 18-point third quarter. He was clearly burnt out by the time the fourth quarter came around, as he scored only four points and attempted two shots during the final 12 minutes.
There is absolutely no question that Anthony willed the Knicks back into the game. When you were sitting and watching him do it, you just wondered if he would be able to sustain into the fourth. And if he couldn't, where would New York get its offense from?
Well, he wasn't able to, and the Knicks offense suffered as a result.
Solid game for Tyson Chandler.
The big man recorded six points and 11 rebounds (five offensive), with all six of his points coming off of alley-oops. He also played some terrific post defense on Blake Griffin, forcing him into some turnovers early on in the game.
The one thing that was bothersome was that on two different occasions, Chandler was switched on to Paul, and both times, he failed to get a hand up as CP3 knocked down threes.
Chandler's impact in Sunday afternoon's contest was obvious, as he was the only Knick to post a positive plus-minus stat (he put up a plus-nine). Whenever Chandler was off the floor, New York's defense completely disintegrated, and the Clippers guards were able to get to the rim and create at will.
J.R. Smith was nothing short of terrible in this one.
He shot 1-of-9 from the floor (1-of-5 from three) and tallied six points, three rebounds and three assists.
I'm not sure if Smith was experiencing fatigue, but he played with little to no energy against the Clippers, committing some silly bail-out fouls, including two in crunch time, which pretty much sealed the Knicks' fate.
Everyone has their bad days, and Smith had one of those afternoons against Los Angeles.
New York's normally reliable bench just wasn't very good today.
Amar'e Stoudemire, who had been playing so well recently, finished with nine points and six rebounds, but he had some problems with ball security around the basket and shot a pedestrian 4-of-9 from the floor.
Plus, he had a silly offensive goaltend during the final minute-and-a-half of the game on an Anthony shot that would have gone in had Stoudemire not touched it. He also put up an ugly minus-19.
Stoudemire and Smith were the only two Knicks reserves to score. Not only did no one else put points on the board, but their defense was atrocious.
There were a couple of instances where Steve Novak got lost on screens and inbounds pass plays and left his man wide open. There also appeared to be some miscommunication between Novak and Stoudemire, and Woodson was furious about it.
This wasn't one of the better days for the New York pine.