LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Blake Griffin had 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Chris Paul had 15 points and seven assists before leaving with a strained right hamstring in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 93-80 victory over the plummeting New York Knicks on Wednesday night.
J.J. Redick also scored 15 points as the Clippers comfortably finished their eighth win in 10 games despite losing their superstar point guard late in the third quarter when Paul hobbled to the locker room favoring his right leg.
“I just strained my hamstring a little bit,” said Paul after the game. “I’m all right. Me and the trainer tried to work on it in the back. I was on the bike, watching the game and when we came back out, I told Doc, ‘If you need me. I can go. I know my body well enough now. I will not look into it that deep. I am all right… I promise – I’m OK.”
Darren Collison and Jamal Crawford capably handled playmaking duties while the Clippers ran away in the fourth quarter.
Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points and Andrea Bargnani had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who have lost seven straight to drop to 3-11.
Raymond Felton had 12 points and seven assists in his return to the Knicks’ starting lineup after four-game absence with an injured lower back and left hip, but New York still hasn’t won since Nov. 13 in Atlanta.
The offense-challenged Knicks couldn’t score for a 3:40 stretch of the final minutes, and they managed just one basket in the final 4 1/2 minutes despite holding the Clippers to only three points in that same time period.
New York missed 17 of its 20 3-point shots, and the Clippers shot 31 free throws to the Knicks’ 15.
Crawford scored eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter for the Clippers, who keep stacking up victories while integrating their new additions — including Redick, who hit three 3-pointers. Los Angeles also improved to 8-1 at Staples Center.
Metta World Peace got an indifferent reaction in his first appearance at Staples Center since the Lakers released him under the NBA’s amnesty provision last summer. World Peace, who won a title with the Lakers in 2010, went scoreless on 0-for-6 shooting, including four missed 3-point attempts.
The Clippers made an early 30-10 run largely sparked by their bench, which had 20 points in the first half. The Knicks scored 13 straight points late in the half, but Los Angeles led 49-45 at halftime with scoring from 10 players.
Anthony, the NBA’s second-leading scorer, and Bargnani kept the Knicks in it, scoring 35 of their 45 points. The much-criticized Bargnani had 16 points and seven rebounds.
J.R. Smith’s basket trimmed the Clippers’ lead to 74-70 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, but the Clippers scored the next nine points.
NOTES: The Knicks will attempt to avoid their first eight-game skid since February 2010 when they wrap up their four-game road trip at Denver on Friday night. … World Peace and Clippers F Antawn Jamison guarded each other at times in the second half. They were teammates last season with the Lakers. Jamison had six points in his second straight appearance for the Clippers after sitting out their first 14 games.