NEW YORK — The Clippers' 102-88 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden was impressive on many levels.
The Clippers showed a lot in bouncing back after an embarrassing 22-point loss at Miami on Friday night.
Chris Paul looked like Chris Paul in closing out the game, scoring seven of his 25 points in the fourth quarter.
Jamal Crawford scored 11 of his 27 points in the fourth.
And Grant Hill played tremendous defense against Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony when it counted most.
"I think it was a great team win for us tonight," said Paul, who also had six rebounds, seven assists and four steals. "And I think the game ball goes to Grant Hill."
Said Crawford: "A guy like Grant Hill sits the whole game, but he comes in and plays great. Nobody can stop Melo, but he made things pretty difficult. We probably don't win that game without him."
Hill drew the assignment on Anthony because Caron Butler was out in the second half because of a sore back.
Anthony had 42 points, but he scored only four in the fourth quarter, when Hill was defending Anthony the entire time.
"He's a great player and I enjoy the challenge," Hill said. "I just tried to make it as difficult as I could for him."
In the final 2 minutes 48 seconds of the game, Paul had five of the final 10 Clippers points and a key steal.
His floater gave the Clippers a 94-86 lead. He then stripped the ball from Amare Stoudemire and made one of two free throws for a 95-86 lead.
After a block by Blake Griffin (17 points, 12 rebounds), Paul scored on an 11-foot runner to make it 97-86.
"At the end of the day, I thrive for those situations — to be the closer and win games," said Paul, who played 29 minutes. "At the end of the day, we just want to win."
It was an especially nice way for Paul to finish off the game after he scored a season-low three points against the Heat on Friday night. That was his first game after missing nine consecutive games because of a bruised right kneecap.
"It felt good," Paul said about his knee. "It always feel good after you win."
The Clippers' reserves once again did their part, going on a 15-4 run to turn a two-point deficit early in the fourth quarter into an 86-77 lead.
Then they left it up to Paul to bring the Clippers home.
"I think the thing that was the best part about the game for us is we stuck to our game plan," Paul said. "We had a few lapses here and there, but we stuck to our game plan."