New York Knicks get clipped in LA

Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Clippers’ Lamar Odom simply wanted it more. With his team struggling for anything positive after two ugly defeats, Odom showed the New York Knicks and all his family and friends back home in Queens that he does have what it takes to carry a team. Odom bounced back from early foul trouble and a cut over his right eye Wednesday night to score seven of his 16 points, including a key jump shot over Larry Johnson, and grab five rebounds in the fourth quarter to lead the Clippers to a 78-74 victory over New York before 12,516 at Staples Center.

“We needed this victory for ourselves,” said Odom, who finished with a team-high nine rebounds and also had three assists and three blocked shots. At halftime, it was gut-check time and Coach (Alvin Gentry) told us we were not being physical enough and we were letting them beat us up.” Odom made sure the Clippers didn’t back down in the second half and he received plenty of help from the team’s old-timers in Sean Rooks, Eric Piatkowski and Derek Strong. Gentry said after the Clippers held a team meeting after Monday’s loss to Dallas that everyone knew his role. Against the Knicks, it was clear that the roles for his younger players — including rookies Darius Miles, Quentin Richardson and Keyon Dooling and second-year swingman Corey Maggette — were limited. Miles, who started the first five games of the season, did not leave the bench and Richardson, Dooling and Maggette combined for only 17 minutes. (New York) is such a cagey-smart team, I thought that it might be wise to go with the veteran guys,” Gentry said. “This doesn’t have anything to do with anything but this game. It just worked out that way. …

“The only reason Darius didn’t play was because I didn’t think it was unfair to stick him in there against a player like Larry Johnson.” Allan Houston’s two free throws with 11 seconds left pulled the Knicks to 76-74, but Jeff McInnis scored on a fast break off an inbounds pass for the final margin. Larry Johnson led New York with 20 points, and Houston had 17.