Clippers, Knicks do bad all by themselves

Two really bad teams making it interesting.


Of course, interesting and close do not equal good.

This, most assuredly, won’t go in the LeBron James Recruiting Package carefully crafted by the Clippers and Knicks. Then again, an awful lot of video destruction, or selective editing of miserable seasons, would have to take place for these two Jamesian suitors.

The injury-riddled Knicks defeated the Clippers, 113-107, on Sunday night and the result did have some semi-larger meaning. It was the Knicks’ first win over the Clippers at Staples Center, as they broke through for the first time in 11 games.

And, more important, what of lottery enhancement?

The Clippers (27-50) are moving on up. Or, if you prefer, down, in the standings. The Knicks are 27-49, but Utah holds their pick.

Five games remain to try to hold off the likes of New York and Philadelphia. The days tick off, slowly.

One Clipper, before the game, helpfully corrected a reporter who said something about there being two weeks left in the regular season.

“Ten days,” he said.

But who’s counting?

This was the Clippers’ fifth straight loss, and they’re 3-16 in March and April.

“We hurt ourselves by not defending their bigs very well on the perimeter,” said Clippers interim Coach Kim Hughes.

Hughes spoke about the lift Earl Barron gave the Knicks off the bench. Barron was five for nine for 10 points in nearly 18 minutes.

“Part-time player and hasn’t played in forever. He really hurt us,” Hughes said.

The other Baron, the Clippers’ Baron Davis, returned after missing three games because of back spasms. Davis had his 17th double-double of the season, 23 points and 11 assists, and missed a triple-double by two rebounds.

Travis Outlaw, who suffered a strained right groin Saturday night at Denver, did not play.

“I didn’t like sitting out and missing games,” Davis said. “I was just happy to be back and wish I could have got us a victory. Back to the drawing board.”

He said the back has been bothering him, of late.

“Just trying to tough it out — sometimes you have to listen to your body,” Davis said. “If I could feel like this the rest of the season, it’d be good.”

David Lee led the Knicks with 29 points, and Chris Kaman had 22 for the Clippers.

Rasual Butler, who was three for 11 from three-point-range, set a Clippers record for most three-point field goals in a season with 140. The previous mark, 139, was set by Terry Dehere in 1995-96 .

“I don’t think about it,” said Butler, who had nine points. “A few games ago, I heard I was close. It wasn’t really anything important. I was just going to play my game and my game for this team is to help spread the floor.”

Said teammate Drew Gooden: “He’s shooting the ball extremely well. That’s his job. He’s a hired shooter. You stay in this league a long time shooting the way he does.”

But individual accomplishment — no matter how impressive — was of no solace.

“No,” Butler said. “We lost. There’s nothing gratifying about losing. It’s about winning.”

And he wasn’t talking about the lottery.