Clippers come up big at right moments to beat the Knicks

Clippers' Blake Griffin (32) drives past New York Knicks' Justin Holiday (8) during the first half Wednesday.

Clippers’ Blake Griffin (32) drives past New York Knicks’ Justin Holiday (8) during the first half Wednesday.

(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin were the big guns for the Clippers against the New York Knicks. Jamal Crawford was the big-time closer and Austin Rivers was the setup man.

Then there was a spotty Clippers defense finally bearing down when the game mattered most.

In a game the struggling Clippers absolutely needed to win, they wrestled a 119-115 victory away from the Knicks on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden behind a supreme effort that has been lacking in recent times.

The Clippers had lost three consecutive games, seven of their last nine, and it would not have been a good look to lose to a Knicks team in turmoil.


“Listen, we needed a win,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “We got a win. Obviously, it wasn’t our best the way we played, but overall we needed a win. We got it.”

The Clippers got the win because Griffin produced a season-high 32 points, along with eight rebounds and five assists. His play was a big reason why the Clippers came from 10 points down in the fourth.

“At this point, every win is very important,” Griffin said. “But like you said, the way we got it, being down 10 in the fourth and guys fighting, guys scrapping, coming up with stops down the stretch. Jamal was huge. DJ was huge. Everybody just played the right way down the stretch.”

The Clippers earned the win because Jordan dominated the inside with 28 points, 15 rebounds and two blocked shots.

They won because Crawford had 20 points off the bench, five straight in the final 98 seconds.

Austin Rivers had a career-high 10 assists, making sure to keep everyone involved.

“Finally. If we didn’t win tonight, they were going to make us stay here,” Jordan said. “Nobody was going to be able to get on the plane tomorrow.”


The game still was in jeopardy because Carmelo Anthony (28 points) and Kristaps Porzingis (27) were a load for the Clippers. Porzingis gave the Knicks a 111-109 lead on an easy rolling dunk, forcing the Clippers to take a timeout with 1:56 left.

That’s when Crawford went to work, pulling up for a 17-foot jumper and then nailing a three-pointer.

“For us,” Crawford said, “I thought everybody played a part that was out there.”

A few seconds after Crawford scored, Jordan blocked a shot by Derrick Rose.

Jordan then beat everyone downcourt and scored on a layup off a pass from J.J. Redick, giving the Clippers a five-point lead.

The Clippers held the Knicks to 33.3% shooting in the fourth, a sign that their defense is coming back to life. “Listen, that’s the defense we played all year, the last five minutes of the game,” Doc Rivers said. “We waited long enough. It was an AAU game in the first half.”

Twitter: @BA_Turner