103 - 94 Final
  for this game

Maggette, Kaman lead Clippers over Knicks

Feb 5, 2008 - 6:12 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- In a game pitting two teams most likely not headed to the playoffs, the Los Angeles Clippers appeared like they wanted the win more.

Corey Maggette scored 19 points points as the Clippers rallied from a 14-point deficit and recorded a 103-94 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

Chris Kaman added 15 points and nine rebounds for Los Angeles, which snapped a nine-game road losing streak and also improved to 1-2 on its season-high seven-game road trip.

"They're struggling like we are," Kaman said. "It was like a toliet-bowl game, a dust-bowl game where two teams - no offense to them - they're struggling like we are. It was good to get to get the win. We had guys play hard in the second half.

"It's two bottom teams playing each other. We have a small chance to make the playoffs, especially with Elton coming back. So, we just have to continue to accumulate as many wins as we can."

Maggette and Kaman both returned on Monday after missing four games apiece with the flu - an ailment which affected coach Mike Dunleavy, who missed the game in favor of assistant coach Kim Hughes.

Dunleavy watched the game from his hotel room and saw Maggette and Kaman start slowly.

"It was big," Los Angeles guard Sam Cassell said of Kaman and Maggette. "If our team's healthy, we'll be tough. We're just not healthy. We don't have pieces. We're missing so much. When those guys are out of the lineup - Kaman and Corey - we're missing almost 65 points of the lineup. With Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston, we can compete with anybody."

"They haven't played in almost two weeks," Clippers forward Tim Thomas said. "It takes time for them to get in a rhythm. They did a good job and they got a nice rhythm."

After falling behind by 14 late in the first half, the Clippers were down by nine at halftime. They gradually cut into the deficit and went ahead for good when Josh Powell rebounded a miss by rookie Al Thornton and converted the putback for a 72-70 lead with 1:49 left.

The Clippers picked up their 15th win after allowing the Knicks to shoot 64 percent in the first half. They held them to just 34 points in the second half, including 14 in the third when they went ahead for good.

Los Angeles took a 79-74 edge into the fourth but struggled to put the game away for most of the period. The Clippers saw the lead reduced to two when Jamal Crawford hit a 21-footer with 3:56 remaining, but Powell scored four straight points.

Powell's layup put Los Angeles ahead 95-89, and Fred Jones cut it to four on New York's next possession. The Knicks next four possessions resulted in three missed shots, a turnover as Kaman and Maggette sealed it at the line.

"They were rusty, and we expected that," Hughes said. "I wasn't surprised how they both played. They both played as well as I'd hoped. I didn't think Chris Kaman did a very good job defending the low post in the first half, giving deep position to Eddy Curry, and that's always a problem.

"But we made the adjustment and we were more physical with Eddy and greeted him at the foul line instead of letting him get deep touches, and it worked out for us."

Curry scored 19 points for the Knicks but had just three after halftime. Crawford finished with 18 but missed 10 of his first 11 shots before going 7-of-21 from the floor

Quentin Richardson scored 14 but left the game with over two minutes remaining in the first half with a sprained right ankle. The Knicks were up 12 when Richardson fell to the floor and the lead quickly evaporated in the third.

The collapse marked New York's sixth straight loss and dropped them 20 games under .500. In five of those losses, the Knicks have held a lead at some point but, in the second half, they managed just three assists committed 10 turnovers while shooting 39 percent.

"I told them the one thing that we cannot do is have an excessive amount of turnovers that lead to transition baskets," New York coach Isiah Thomas said. "We had 20 turnovers, which led to 25 points. That is tough to deal with."

"We gave them life," Crawford said. "If we could have stood on them a little more then the game would have been over heading into the fourth. We didn't do that. We gave them life, we gave them energy."

Despite the Knicks' struggles, fans at Madison Square Garden did have a chance to cheer with the presence of R.W. McQuarters, Sam Madison and Kevin Dockery from the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

But the standing ovation they received did not spark the Knicks, who have lost six in a row. Somehow, New York forward David Lee has found solace in his team keeping it close of late.

"I have come in the game with confidence no matter what I am doing or what my team is doing," Lee said. "We could have got beaten by 50 points on the West Coast swing, and it would have been the same result.

"We are playing better ball. We have to keep it up in the fourth quarter and third quarter. We are not getting done."

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