Clippers end 2014 with a win

Listen to this article

It was New Year’s Eve at Staples Center Wednesday and everyone was in a festive mood, surrounded by all the holiday decorations.

Nokia-NightThousands of people came to DTLA for the New Year’s Eve celebration and to watch the New York Knicks take on the L.A. Clippers.

Former L.A. Lakers great Derek Fisher is now the head coach of the Knicks and his team has had a rough season so far: just 5-28 going into Wednesday’s game. No one expected New York to win, except maybe the Knicks themselves.

They have a lot of injuries right now. It was questionable if Amar’e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Samuel Dalembert and Andrea Bargnani would suit up for the game. And Carmelo Anthony was listed as probable, playing on sore knees that have carried him through 12 seasons in the NBA.

All but two, Stoudemire and Dalembert, got in the game.

The former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson was there too, as an assistant with the L.A Clippers.

New York Knicks power forward Carmelo Anthony
New York Knicks power forward Carmelo Anthony

It could have been a big game for the Knicks. The question was: can they beat a Clippers team that has a record of 21 and 11? It could happen. L.A. has won just five of its last ten games so they are not playing at their best, something Doc Rivers and the team have admitted.

As it turned out, it was a quick game for the Clippers, ending with another win. The Knicks were never close to putting the game in their win column. Carmelo Anthony managed to lead his team in scoring with 19 points — even with his bad knees. Unfortunately for him and his team, he was the only Knick to finish with double digit scoring.

By contrast, six of the Clippers finished with double digit scoring, three of them starters. J.J. Redick led all scoring with 20 points and DeAndre Jordan added 14 points to go with his 12 rebounds. Spencer Hawes had another big night, grabbing seven rebounds and scoring 10 points.

Defense was the name of the Clippers game once again. Except for Carmelo Anthony, L.A. shut down the rest of the Knicks. After the game Jamal Crawford said Defense was the key to the Clippers victory and when they get that going everything else follows.

Head coach Doc Rivers said, “We kept getting stops. I think defensively we were pretty good. We missed a lot of shots in the first half, I thought we made some in the second. I talked about our pace, before the game, with our guys. Thought we got into it in the beginning of the first quarter, but then got away from it.”

Jamal Crawford and Blake Griffin finished with 13 points and Jordan Farmar had 11 points. Griffin also had 20 assists and seven rebounds while Glenn Davis, Reggie Bullock and Matt Barnes each had five rebounds.

L.A. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers
L.A. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers

It was a strong showing for the Clippers as they closed out the year. For the Knicks, it was disappointing. Their record now is 5 and 29. All they can do is try to turn the season around in January.

After the game Carmelo Anthony said, “I love this game. This is what I love to do. I think that’s one of the main reasons I’m trying to go out there and play, because I don’t like sitting out. I don’t like sitting on the bench and watching my team lose and feel like I can’t be a part of that.” He added, “We gotta find a win. We can’t be thinking about the turnaround. We gotta try and find a win in the next couple days and see what happens from there.”

•••• •••• ••••• •••• ••••

Before the game Knicks head coach Derek Fisher spoke to the media and he commented on his team’s record. “It’s about this team and this organization, redefining how we can be successful. Our fans, I think, have waited I guess a long time, from their perspective and how they feel about us, but this is a new beginning for us and we’re going through our growing pains right now. The people that we have involved right now in what we’re trying to do, we have no doubt that we’re gonna eventually be successful and we’re gonna keep working until we are.”

New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher
New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher

Fisher was asked if he had thought about coming back to Staples Center as the head coach of the Lakers, once his playing career ended. He replied, “When I wrapped up with the Thunder, as I exited the floor I hadn’t thought about coaching any team at that point.” He added, “Over the nine or ten days of reflection I never had any conversations with the Lakers about coaching their team. As I got myself to a place where this opportunity (with the Knicks) was real and I’ll be willing to accept it, this was the only one I wanted and I’m thankful enough to be in this position.”

•••• •••• ••••• •••• ••••

Next up for the Clippers: the Philadelphia Sixers will come to Staples Center on Saturday, January 3; game time is 7:30 p.m. local. For the Knicks they will host the Detroit Pistons in Madison Square Garden Friday, January 2 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

(All photos by Claudia Gestro)