Clippers’ Foye, Griffin Light Up The Garden
NEW YORK (AP) — Nothing too flashy or ferocious from Blake Griffin. The Los Angeles Clippers didn’t need him to be spectacular when everyone else was so solid.
“I think we had one of our most, one of our best overall games, with everybody contributing and everybody playing extremely well,” Griffin said.
Newark’s own Randy Foye scored 17 of his season-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, Griffin added 21 and the Clippers snapped a seven-game road losing streak with a 116-108 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.
Baron Davis had 16 points and a season-high 16 assists for the Clippers, who had dropped four straight overall, including the first three on their eight-game, 14-day trip. But a night after a 101-85 loss in Orlando, they had far more energy than the Knicks, building a 20-point lead in the third quarter and holding on down the stretch behind huge plays from Foye.
Ryan Gomes scored 18 points, DeAndre Jordan 17 and Eric Bledsoe 16 for the Clippers.
Held to a season-low 10 points Tuesday in Orlando, Griffin grabbed only six rebounds, ending his latest double-double streak at 10 games, but Los Angeles shot 55 percent and improved to 4-18 on the road as Davis followed his best scoring night of the season with his best passing one.
“A lot of times it’s tough to get up for games, but not when you’re playing with guys like Blake and DeAndre and guys who can get up above the rim and just give you that energy night in and night out,” Davis said. “I think they’re both a freak of nature. I think Blake is an alien and I think DeAndre is an alien.”
Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points for the Knicks, but was hindered by foul trouble and joined coach Mike D’Antoni in criticizing the team’s effort.
“We’re not playing hard, we’re not getting loose balls. Seems like we’re afraid out there,” Stoudemire said. “I said it before the game. We’ve got to have supreme focus. I guess they figured I was just talking to the wall.”
Danilo Gallinari had 21 and Timofey Mozgov, posterized by Griffin in the teams’ first meeting, had 18 on 8 of 9 shooting but was forced to the bench when the Knicks went with a small lineup in an effort to get back in the game.
Already leading by 11 at halftime, the Clippers made nine of their first 13 shots in the third and opened an 84-64 lead on Foye’s 3-pointer with 3:13 left. The Knicks then finally showed some energy, extending their defense and using a 14-4 burst to trim the margin to 88-78 after three.
Toney Douglas scored seven straight New York points to cut it to 99-94 with 6:04 to play, and Stoudemire’s dunk made it a three-point game. It was still three when Foye nailed a 3-pointer with 3:47 to go, and he then answered scores by Stoudemire with a jumper, then another 3-pointer to make it 109-102 with 2:43 remaining.
Foye then found Jordan, who was fouled and hit one free throw, and threw a lob that Griffin slammed down to put it away at 112-102 with 1:36 left.
“My teammates gave me the ball in the right places and I was not only making the shots, but just trying to make the right play,” Foye said.
The Clippers were held to 79 and 85 points in consecutive losses in Florida, but shredded the Knicks inside and out, hitting 9 of 17 3-pointers. New York was 6 of 26 behind the arc, a season-low 23 percent, and a small “We want Melo!” chant broke out in the final minutes.
Mozgov was the victim in one of Griffin’s most ferocious dunks of the season on Nov. 20, a slam in which the All-Star put his hand on Mozgov’s face for balance _ which turned into further embarrassment when the Russian was called for a foul.
Griffin had another powerful dunk with Gallinari nearby and finished with 44 points and 15 rebounds in a performance that ranks near the top of his NBA highlight reel, but the Knicks won 124-115 and would have been fine allowing the rookie to dominate again if it came in a New York victory.
But the Knicks didn’t defend Griffin’s teammates for most of the game. The Clippers shot 54 percent in the first half, going 5 of 7 from 3-point range and finding little resistance when they went into the paint.
“For whatever reason, in the first half we just didn’t come out and play,” D’Antoni said. “You could see it on their faces.”
Mozgov scored 12 points in the first quarter, helping the Knicks take a 29-28 lead. The Clippers took control late in the first half, with the crowd loudly booing the Knicks after allowing another uncontested layup at one point en route to a 58-47 halftime deficit.
Notes: Griffin’s 21 points were the most by a No. 1 pick in his first game at Madison Square Garden since LeBron James scored 22 on Feb. 22, 2004. … The Clippers continue their trip Friday in Cleveland, where the Cavaliers will be trying to end their NBA-record, 26-game losing streak. Jordan had been averaging only 4.0 points in the Clippers’ first four games in February. … The Knicks face the other Los Angeles team next, hosting the Lakers on Friday.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)