Clips edge Knicks in OT with Taylor's career high
Another big game at Madison Square Garden for Zach Randolph, another ill-timed technical foul for Al Harrington against the Clippers.
Everything in this one had been seen before - except the performance from Mike Taylor.
Taylor more than doubled his career high with 35 points, Randolph added 33 against his former team, and Los Angeles outlasted the New York Knicks 140-135 in overtime Wednesday night.
"It finally all came together, especially with the team being down big in the first quarter," Taylor said. "That's kind of my chance to pick it up and bring the energy that I've been bringing all year."
Al Thornton scored 21 and Eric Gordon had 19 for the Clippers, who snapped a nine-game road losing streak. Seemingly on the way to being run off the floor while surrendering 44 points in the first quarter, they quickly erased a huge early deficit and ended two games worth of dismal offensive efforts, shooting 58 percent from the field.
And for the second time this season, they benefited from a late technical foul on Harrington after a dunk that had given the Knicks a three-point lead in the final half-minute of regulation.
Harrington finished with 38 points and Wilson Chandler scored 22 for the Knicks, who matched a season high with their sixth straight loss.
New York raced to a 19-point lead in the first 6:01, heard boos after blowing all of it before halftime, and ended up with another embarrassing loss against one of the NBA's worst teams as it limps to the finish of its eighth straight losing season.
"We didn't guard anybody, that's pretty obvious," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Somehow, somewhere the game's got to be a little more important than just going out there and playing. We're just not there."
The Knicks know Randolph well, having traded him to the Clippers in November in a deal that helped them clear salary-cap space for the summer of 2010 but weakened them for now. He was their leading scorer at the time and had helped New York get off to a promising start, fitting in better than expected under D'Antoni.
"I don't know why they traded me," Randolph said. "I didn't understand it, but it's a business, you know. I feel like I'm one of the best power forwards, underrated power forwards in the league, too."
Taylor is much less known, coming into the game averaging 3.9 points in his rookie season. Yet he was so good Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy used him instead of the struggling Baron Davis to open the second half, and he played 37 minutes.
Neither team led by more than five in the second half and Harrington's driving dunk gave the Knicks a 127-124 lead with 27 seconds left. But he was called for hanging on the rim, and Gordon hit the technical free throw to make it a two-point game. Randolph tied it with two free throws with 13 seconds remaining, and Chandler was short on a potential winning 3-pointer.
The Knicks lost in overtime at Los Angeles last month after Harrington gave them a three-point lead on a dunk with 25 seconds left in regulation but was called for a tech for slapping the backboard.
Harrington said referee Scott Foster told the forward that he also slapped the backboard on this one. Harrington denied that, saying he was protecting himself because Thornton was underneath him.
"It's crazy. L.A. was totally different because I did slap the backboard. This time I felt like I was making a routine play. As soon as I got my feet underneath me, I let go. Look at the tape. He walked underneath me."
Taylor knotted it with a jumper with 2 1/2 minutes left in the extra period, Randolph followed with a bucket and Taylor banked in a runner in the lane for a 137-133 lead with 1:35 left.
The Clippers had lost three straight overall and averaged only 76.5 points in the last two. They passed that less than 4 minutes into the second half against a Knicks team that recently absorbed home losses against sub.-500 teams New Jersey and Sacramento by a combined 53 points.
The Knicks made 13 of their first 15 shots and were up 27-8 after Chandler's jumper with still 5:59 remaining in the first quarter. New York led 44-28 after one, shooting 79 percent (19-of-24) in its best period of the season.
The Clippers wasted no time coming back behind Taylor, who became the first player drafted directly from the NBA Development League when Portland took him in the second round in 2008. His scored 17 in the second quarter - surpassing his previous career high of 15 for a game. He blew by the Knicks for a layup that gave the Clippers a 63-62 edge with 1:50 remaining, eliciting loud groans from the Madison Square Garden crowd, but the Knicks recovered for a 66-65 advantage at halftime.
D'Antoni said he hadn't spoken Wednesday with rookie forward Danilo Gallinari, who has returned from a trip home to Italy to get further opinions on his ailing back. Gallinari is considering surgery that would sideline him for the season. ... The Knicks had scored 43 points in a quarter twice this season.