LOS ANGELES — The Clippers again blew a double-digit lead on their home court and were dragged to the finish line by the New York Knicks, who didn’t have quite enough left to pull it out.
Chris Paul had 24 points and 15 assists, and J.J. Redick added 20 points, leading Los Angeles to a 101-94 victory Friday night. All of the starters scored in double digits to help fuel their eighth straight victory over the Knicks.
DeAndre Jordan had 19 rebounds and blocked six shots in addition to his 10 points. Los Angeles, coming off a 120-108 defeat at Oklahoma City on Wednesday, hasn’t lost consecutive games since a three-game skid Dec. 18-21.
"Fouls and free throws got them back into the game, but we just stayed together," Paul said. "J.J. hit some big shots, DeAndre blocked some shots and we found a way to win."
Paul made his first seven shots – three from 3-point range – and finished the first half with 17 as the Clippers built a 61-50 halftime lead and shot 51.2 per cent. Jeff Green, who played a whopping 45 minutes, added 15 points by intermission to help offset 16 points each by Anthony and Lopez.
"Tonight, I thought he fought and he had to play just a high volume of minutes," coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought he was in the right place tonight, which for me, was the most important part."
Kristaps Porzingis, the fourth overall pick in the draft, led the Knicks with 23 points in 31 minutes after getting into early foul trouble. Carmelo Anthony and Robin Lopez each played more than 43 minutes and had 20 points apiece.
"Porzingis is a tall dude who can really play," Paul said. "Melo is Melo, and Robin Lopez plays hard. So they compete every night."
The Knicks, who were coming off a 129-97 rout at Phoenix, were missing Arron Afflalo for the second straight game because of a strained abdominal muscle and fell to 27-40.
"I think I have said this for 10 years, but people do not respect how hard it is to win a game in this league," Rivers said. "Just because a team has a bad record — and you have everything to play for — they didn’t just wake up this morning and say: ‘Let’s lose."’
New York is 4-9 since Derek Fisher was fired and replaced as head coach by Kurt Rambis. The Knicks are 5-18 since Jan. 22, a nosedive that began with their home loss to the Clippers.
"I think we’re figuring out who we are as a ballclub and what we have to do in order to play well, but we’re still growing and I really like the direction that we’re heading," Rambis said. "That doesn’t mean we don’t have lapses and kind of go away from who we’re trying to be."
Sasha Vujacic, no stranger to Staples Center after playing his first six-plus NBA seasons with the Lakers and another with the Clippers, made his second straight start at shooting guard and had nine points.
Porzingis spent the final 9:22 of the second quarter on the bench after picking up his third foul with the Knicks trailing 32-27. The 7-foot-3 forward was back on the floor at the start of the second half, and had 12 points in the third, including a reverse layup that cut the Knicks’ deficit to 76-71 after they had trailed by as many as 15.
The Clippers were caught at 84-all on a 21-footer by Vujacic with 6:27 to play. But the Knicks weren’t able to pull ahead, as Porzingis missed a few easy ones down the stretch and Paul and Redick each hit clutch 3-pointers in the final 2:42.
"We were doing well until the last few minutes when I missed those important shots," Porzingis said. "I feel sorry about letting my team down like that because I know how hard we fought to get back in the game and be right there. So it’s tough, but it’s all a learning experience for me."
Knicks: Anthony has played in 890 regular-season NBA games, the 28th-most among active players – but the most in that group who have never been used in a reserve role. LeBron James came off the bench once in 973 games, and Tim Duncan twice in 1,379 games. … This is the first time the Knicks are playing the Clippers and Lakers in consecutive games on the same road trip since the Clippers relocated from San Diego to Los Angeles for the 1984-85 season. … The Knicks are 2-14 against the Clippers at Staples Center since the arena opened in October 1999.
Clippers: The Clippers were assessed a rare technical foul for having fewer than five players on the court after the second quarter began. Anthony converted the free throw. … Coach Doc Rivers used his 17th different starting lineup, with Green at small forward and Wesley Johnson as the power forward. Luc Mbah a Moute missed his fifth game due to a cut on his left eyelid, and Paul Pierce did not play because of soreness in the big toe on his right foot. … The Clippers are 25-9 since losing Blake Griffin because of a partially torn left quad tendon in a game against the Lakers on Christmas.
Knicks: At Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
Clippers: Host Cleveland on Sunday.