Friday, January 17, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) — Jamal Crawford was back in the locker room throwing up, a tough way to start a lengthy road trip.
A little illness wasn't going to stop the Los Angeles Clippers. Neither is a grueling schedule nor the absence of their All-Star point guard.
"For us, there's no excuses," Crawford said. "We have to go on the road and do a job."
Blake Griffin scored 32 points, Crawford added 29, and the Clippers opened a seven-game road trip with their fifth straight victory, 109-95 over the New York Knicks on Friday night.
DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and 16 rebounds for the Clippers, who dominated the second half to hand the Knicks their third consecutive loss.
Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and 20 rebounds for the Knicks in a disappointing start to an eight-game homestand that matches the longest in franchise history. That doesn't guarantee any success this season, with the Knicks now 7-13 at Madison Square Garden.
"It seems that we can't figure it out here on our home court," Anthony said. "But despite these last couple of games, I think we've got a great stretch that can work in our favor if we get some things right, adjust some things and figure it out quickly."
One of those adjustments could be to the starting lineup, with coach Mike Woodson said he may have to consider it after starting guards Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert combined for two baskets and five points — all by Felton — on 12 shot attempts.
Anthony shot only 4 of 23 from the field, but made all 16 free throws in the first 20-20 game by a Knicks player since David Lee on April 2, 2010. J.R. Smith added 24 points off the bench.
It's the second seven-game trip of the season for the Clippers, who will fly about 11,275 miles as they give up Staples Center for the Grammy awards. They went 4-3 in December on the first one, and got this one off to a winning start while improving to 10-10 on the road this season.
Crawford couldn't even join them for warmups, remaining in the back with stomach sickness. But after needing a stunning rally to erase a 17-point deficit inside the final 5 minutes and beat Dallas 129-127 on Wednesday, the Clippers methodically pulled away from a 50-all halftime tie in this one and improve to 6-1 this season without the injured Chris Paul.
"Something CP always says when we are on a road trip, 'Can't win them all without winning the first,'" Griffin said. "So to get the first one for us is obviously great, to get the win to start the road trip and help our mindsets for the rest of the games."
The Knicks led 65-62 with 4 minutes left in the third before helping the Clippers pass them by continuously sending the visitors to the line. Ten of the Clippers' final 14 points of the quarter came from the foul line — one of them when Griffin was fouled throwing down an alley-oop pass from Crawford with 52 seconds left.
Los Angeles then blew it open early in the fourth on consecutive jumpers by newly signed Hedo Turkoglu and Crawford, before Crawford nailed a 3-pointer to make it 85-70. Consecutive 3s later in the period by Griffin, Jared Dudley and Crawford, a former Knicks guard, extended it to 96-75 and brought out plenty of boos from the home fans.
With the Knicks at home for the rest of the month, Woodson said he considers January the pivotal month of the season. Yet home hasn't been the place to be, with the Knicks absorbing their three worst losses here.
And they could play this entire stretch without forwards Amare Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Both players sprained their left ankles in Thursday's 117-89 loss at Indiana and are expected to miss about two weeks.
The homestand still includes visits from sub-.500 Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Charlotte, the Lakers, Boston and Cleveland, but the Knicks can't assume wins against anyone after falling to 15-25.
"The thing that we have to do is just, we have to fix it," center Tyson Chandler said. "You've got to attack the problem head on. There's going to be no pity parties. Just got to take care of it and fix it."
The Clippers tied it at 50 going into halftime despite shooting under 33 percent and going 3 of 18 on 3-pointers. Anthony was 2 of 10, but made all nine free throws for his 14 points.
NOTES: The Knicks also had an eight-game homestand in December 1986. The Dallas Mavericks are the only other team with eight straight home games this season.