Clippers use dominating 3rd quarter to down Knicks, 128-105
”It felt like we were just going to try and outscore them,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. ”I asked them if it was an All-Star Game. Just no defense.”
That was corrected in a big way in the second half, the Clippers storming out with a 28-8 run and rolling to a 128-105 victory.
New York coach Jeff Hornacek also saw a second half reversal for his Knicks, who have lost three consecutive games and 11 of their last 12.
”No defense,” Hornacek said. ”It was like a layup line in the second half. All easy stuff.”
The Clippers outscored the Knicks 35-18 in the third quarter.
”It was incredible,” said Austin Rivers. ”I mean, they only scored 18 points. Any time you hold a team to 18 points in a quarter, and play the way we do on offense, it’s going to be tough to beat us.”
Enes Kanter had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Knicks. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points and Courtney Lee had 15.
”They did a great job of limiting us to a one-shot opportunity and getting down on the break,” Hardaway said. ”Once you slip up in this league, it’s going to be hard to get yourself back in the game.”
The Clippers dominated the boards, outrebounding the Knicks 51-33. Once the Clippers started playing defense and moving the ball, open shots started to fall. They had a season-high 34 assists.
”Now in the second half, I thought we played really hard,” Doc Rivers said. ”The great part of our team, if we get stops, then we start running. And when we start running, it puts a lot of pressure on.”
He said there were no changes made at halftime. He simply showed film of the Knicks hitting open 3-pointers.
”Sometimes you don’t have to say anything,” he said.
Knicks: Friday marked the start of a four-game road trip, the longest remaining trip and their second-longest of the season. The Knicks are 8-25 on the road this season. … Entering Friday’s game, Kanter had averaged 16.3 points and 13 rebounds over his last 13 games, shooting 62 percent.
Clippers: F Danilo Gallinari missed his fourth consecutive game with what an MRI on Thursday revealed as a fractured right hand. Previously the Clippers thought it was sprained. Doc Rivers was uncertain when he would return. ”I don’t think he’s going to be back soon,” Rivers said. Gallinari has appeared in only 19 of 61 games this season because of injuries. … Forty-five day contracts are expiring the next two days for guards C.J. Williams and Tyrone Wallace. Said Rivers: ”I don’t know what we’re going to do. We’re trying to sign one of them. We don’t have enough guards to play.”
The Western Conference figures to be a wild race to make the playoffs. Teams in the third through ninth spots are all within two games of each other in the loss column.
The Clippers are currently ninth, a half-game back of Denver for the final playoff spot, but only two games in the loss column back of Portland for third.
”Teams are dropping, teams are moving up,” Doc Rivers said. ”It’s a lot of fun. But you have to win games.”
Knicks: Visit Sacramento on Sunday.
Clippers: Continue their six-game homestand Sunday against Brooklyn.
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