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Clippers' 93-80 win over Knicks is good enough

Chris Paul's 20 points lead five Clippers in double figures as they beat a New York team that is without Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler.

March 17, 2013|By Broderick Turner

It was a win for the Clippers, and that's all that mattered.

It didn't matter that the Clippers' 93-80 victory over the injury-depleted New York Knicks wasn't a thing of beauty on Sunday at Staples Center.

It didn't matter that the Clippers' best quarter was the third or that they wobbled at times in the fourth quarter.

What mattered most to the Clippers was that they had five players score in double figures and they got that rid of that taste from losing to Memphis on Wednesday night.

"Sometimes you are going to play a really good game and you're going to lose. Obviously, we want to win every night," said Chris Paul, who led the Clippers with 20 points and eight assists. "But I think all teams right now are trying to make sure they are playing the right way so they have something that's your backbone that you can rely on going into the playoffs."

The Clippers (46-21) are tied with Memphis (44-21) in the loss column and are one game ahead of Denver (45-22) in the Western Conference.

But the Clippers have a one-game lead over the Grizzlies and Nuggets for the third seeding in the West.

"We see where all the standings are right now and we have to play good, solid basketball," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "And if we do that, we'll get as high of a seed as possible. But I'm more interested in us playing at a high level, getting everybody back healthy and hopefully continually improving as we get down here with the last 15 games."

The Clippers are starting to get healthy again.

Caron Butler, who missed the last game because of a bruised left elbow, played Sunday and had 14 points on five-for-nine shooting, four for six on three-pointers.

Blake Griffin had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Chauncey Billups and Jamal Crawford each had 12 points.

DeAndre Jordan was the only starter not to score in double figures, but he had 10 rebounds to go along with his eight points and two blocked shots.

The Knicks played without All-Stars Carmelo Anthony (right knee injury) and Tyson Chandler (left knee injury), but that didn't matter to the Clippers.

The Clippers put themselves in a tough spot by turning the ball over 10 times in the first half.

But they had only one turnover in the third quarter.

"We were able to control our turnovers in the second half," Del Negro said, "and get some shots at the basket."

By taking better care of the ball in the third, the Clippers opened a 19-point lead.

But the Knicks' last five field goals in the third were three-pointers, the final one by J.R. Smith, on which he was fouled by Matt Barnes.

Smith made the free throw for a four-point play that cut the Clippers' lead to 12 points at the end of the third quarter.

The Knicks made one last push, cutting their deficit to eight points late in the fourth quarter.

But the Clippers got a free throw from Paul and a three-pointer from Butler to finish off the Knicks.

"Our energy was great," Paul said. "We pushed the tempo, we picked up the pace. Our second half was a lot better than our first half. It's always good to win."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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