Maggette, Kaman lead Clippers past Knicks

Los Angeles 103, Knicks 94
February 4, 2008 7:22:04 PM PST
Corey Maggette scored 19 points in his return to the lineup, and the Los Angeles Clippers snapped a nine-game road losing streak by beating the slumping New York Knicks 103-94 on Monday night.Chris Kaman, who like Maggette had missed the last four games with the flu, added 15 points and nine rebounds as Los Angeles improved to 1-2 on its seven-game road trip. Cuttino Mobley had 14 points as the Clippers handed the Knicks their sixth straight loss.

Kaman had missed five in a row total, the first with a left shin contusion.

The Clippers hadn't completely shaken the flu bug. They were led by assistant coach Kim Hughes, with Mike Dunleavy staying behind at the team hotel because he was sick.

Eddy Curry led the Knicks with 19 points. Jamal Crawford scored 16 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter for the Knicks, who returned home from an 0-5 road trip where they blew second-half leads in four of the games. They were up 11 in the second half this time but were outscored 52-34 after halftime.

The highlight for New York fans had nothing to do with basketball. Giants defensive backs Sam Madison, R.W. McQuarters and Kevin Dockery, who had arrived back home with the rest of the Super Bowl champions earlier Monday from Arizona, came onto the court and received a standing ovation that lasted throughout the break between the third and fourth quarters.

By then, the Knicks had blown their excellent first half by getting outscored 28-14 in the third quarter.

The Knicks, particularly Crawford, seemed sparked by the rare cheers. He was 1-for-10 until then, then heated up and hit a jumper that cut the Clippers' lead to 91-89 with 3:56 to play. Josh Powell then made consecutive buckets, and the Knicks never got closer than four again.

The Knicks shot 64 percent in the first half but ran out of offense in the second half. They were playing without key reserve Nate Robinson, who had a bruised left quadriceps, then lost starting forward Quentin Richardson, who sprained his right ankle late in the first half after scoring 14 points in 16 minutes.

Curry's basket gave the Knicks an 11-points early in the third, but Quinton Ross and Sam Cassell combined for nine straight points to trigger a 20-4 run that gave the Clippers a 75-70 lead after Thornton's acrobatic three-point play with 1:12 remaining in the period. Los Angeles led 79-74 after three.

Los Angeles led 31-30 after one quarter, even though the Knicks shot 61 percent in the period. The Knicks scored 12 straight points - all with leading scorer Crawford getting a break - to open a 49-36 advantage halfway through the second quarter.

The Clippers rallied back within six in the final minute of the half, but Zach Randolph made a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left to give New York a 60-51 lead at the break. The only bad news in the half was the loss of Richardson, who was off to a strong start against his former team before landing on Maggette's foot late in the half and leaving with a sprained right ankle.