Trudging through the snow, and looking to stay atop their respective conferences, the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers meet Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
New York, No. 2 in the East, and L.A. now third in the West, nearly saw their matchup postponed due to a massive snow storm along the Northeast. The Knicks were stuck in Minnesota, and the Clippers in Miami, though each had different results.
New York needed a blistering fourth quarter from forward Carmelo Anthony to drop the struggling Timberwolves 100-94 Friday night. Anthony finished with 36 points and nine rebounds on 13-for-26 shooting.
The Knicks began the second half with a seven point lead, but Minnesota guard Luke Ridnour scored 12 of his 20 points to cap at 31-18 third quarter for the Timberwolves, forcing New York to ride Anthony in the fourth for the victory.
New York also struggled from three-point range, going 8-for-26, but did manage to hold the Wolves to just one three-point field goal.
Point guard Chris Paul appeared for just the third time in the Clippers last 15 games, but his presence couldn’t help stave off the Miami Heat in a 111-89 loss.
Paul has struggled with soreness in his knee, and forward Blake Griffin played through a hamstring strain, but the Clippers much-improved defense failed to contain LeBron James and company. James netted 30 points with five rebounds and six assists.
Paul was limited to 20 minutes of action and scored three points with two assists, while Griffin notched 13 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes. L.A. did manage to keep Miami out of the paint, but couldn’t overcome it's 52.9 percent shooting from the field.
Injuries to Paul and Griffin, as well as guard Jamal Crawford have severely hampered the Clippers momentum. They’ve gone 3-7 in their last 10 games, with most of the losses coming to playoff teams.
Coverage begins at 1 p.m. eastern time and will be broadcast by ABC.
Betting Odds: New York is favored by 3.5 points
Over/Under: 193.5 points
Prediction: As Paul goes, so go the Clippers. L.A’s MVP candidate might have to take the game over at times, especially if Anthony goes on a scoring tear. Whoever can control the boards should win this game, with the Knicks pulling out a close one.
Predicted Score: New York 101, Los Angeles 99