NEW YORK — Grant Hill’s left ankle was in a bucket of ice, his right knee wrapped in ice, his day now over after a game-changing matchup against New York Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony.
All the Clippers asked the 40-year-old Hill to do Sunday was to sit out the first 32 1/2 minutes of the game — which Hill said “equates to about 1 hour 40 minutes of sit-time” — and then enter the game to face one of the NBA’s most dangerous scorers.
Anthony entered the game averaging 28.7 points, second in the league, and he had 38 against the Clippers through three quarters.
Hill played all 12 minutes in the fourth and he was always on Anthony, who had only four points in the quarter to finish with 42.
“He’s a great player and I have much respect for him,” Hill said. “He’s one of my favorite players to watch, but you try to do things to make it difficult. And then you’ve got to have selective memory, because he hit shots and you’ve got to be able to move on to the next play.”
Hill entered the game with 3:21 left in the third quarter and never left. He was in the game because starting small forward Caron Butler suffered a sore back that kept him out after the first half.
So Hill was in to provide some rest for backup Matt Barnes, who started the second half in place of Butler.
Hill fronted Anthony, face-guarded him and made it nearly impossible for the Knicks to get the ball to their star in the fourth quarter.
“He’s just smart,” Chris Paul said about Hill. “He never rests. He’s always bothering you and messing with you. He just does a great job. He understands how you can’t give a guy, especially the best scorer in the league to me, a steady diet of the same defense.”
Butler tightens up Butler said he “laid down wrong in the bed” on Saturday night and arrived at the game and noticed that his back “was a little off.”
Butler tried to play, but between the first and second quarters, when he was resting, he said his back got tight.
He reentered the game with 5:29 left in the second quarter and checked back out with 1:53 left in the half.
“I was jacked up then,” Butler said. “I came back into the locker room and I was just tight. I had to sit out.”
Butler said he would take some “relaxers” later on Sunday night and then decide if he can play Monday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I hope to play,” Butler said. “But we’ll just have to see.”