In an early Sunday morning (for us on the West Coast anyway) start the Los Angeles Clippers (16-5) defeated the New York Knicks (9-12) at Madison Square Garden 129-115. The Clips have had a history of playing sluggish and uninspired from the opening tip during matinee games, but they looked focused and energetic from the get-go for this one. I guess New York being the “town that doesn’t sleep” can have that effect. It’s a good thing too, because Julius Randle and the Knicks matched their effort early and throughout the game. The Knicks actually led at the end of the first quarter. In a game where neither team was stalwart on the defensive end, the Clips offense was just too much to overcome for New York, as the Clippers took every quarter thereafter. The Clippers came into the game being the best 3 point shooting percentage-wise in the league, whereas the Knicks came in being the best at guarding the 3 point line percentage-wise. Something had to give, and it was the Clippers who maintained their rep, as they made a total of 17 out of 38 3 pointers to help propel them to the W.
STAR OF THE GAME
Once again it was Kawhi Leonard. To start the game he was cold from the field, and was coming up short on most of his shots. He was still able to get to the free-throw line though, and was getting his points that way, going 11 for 11 from the line. He may have been feeling groggy to begin the game, but by the second half he was getting more height on his jump-shot and they started falling for him. By the end of the game he was 8 out of 15 on his field goal attempts for a team and game high 28 points. He threw in 4 rebounds, 4 assists, a block and steal for good measure. He was the star of the game, but an honorable mention has to go out to Reggie Jackson and his 18 points. He has played terrific in Patrick Beverley’s absence. If he keeps it up, Coach Lue will find it hard to put him back on the bench. He at the very least should be worked back into the rotation for more minutes.
Other than overall health (Pat Bev is still out, and Nicolas Batum sat out this one with a thigh contusion), I really have no concerns after this one. The team played well during an early game, and have upped their current win-streak to 3 after the loss in Atlanta, all on the road. They are are keeping it rolling during this tough 6 game road-trip, and seem to be clicking on all cylinders despite the absences. Winning 10 out of their last 11 games. Climbing them up to the best record in the league. Going into this game, I thought they as a team would be looking ahead to Tuesdays game in Brooklyn against the Nets, but there was no sign of that. They should go into Tuesdays game fearless , knowing that they should take it, and knowing they are the best team in the league.
Patrick Patterson and his 13 points. He has not gotten to play very much this year, but he got called upon for the start today in place of the injured Nicolas Batum and was absolutely great. Good ol’ Pat Pat is a true professional and has stayed ready for whenever his number is called. His teammates created the adage “just add water” around him in jest because of his readiness to go at a moment’s notice. He came out of the gate knocking down everything, not missing a single shot for the entire game,. He kept the Clippers close early while the Knicks were hot to start. He will go back to the bench upon Batum getting a clean bill of health, but you can count on him to be ready to go at the drop of a hat.
You’ll just have to add water.
At Brooklyn Nets, Tuesday February 2nd at 4:30PM
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