Knicks spoil Harden’s Clippers debut with 111-97 win

The New York Knicks snapped their two-game losing streak and recorded their first home victory of the season with a 111-97 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. Julius Randle scored 27 points and RJ Barrett had 26 in his return to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a sore left knee. Mitchell Robinson added 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Knicks, who outscored the Clippers 35-21 in the fourth quarter.

The Clippers, who had won four of their last five games, were playing their first game with James Harden, who was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers last week. Harden played 31 minutes and had 17 points and six assists, but shot only 5 of 15 from the field and 2 of 9 from the 3-point line. Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 18 points and Russell Westbrook scored 17, but both stars also struggled with their shooting, combining for 13 of 36 from the floor.

Knicks spoil Harden’s Clippers debut with 111-97 win
Knicks spoil Harden’s Clippers debut with 111-97 win

Knicks take control in the final period

The game was tied at 76-76 after the third quarter, but the Knicks opened the fourth with a 7-0 run to take the lead for good. Barrett scored 10 points in the final period, including a 3-pointer that gave New York its largest lead of the game at 111-94 with 2:07 left. Randle also had 10 points in the quarter, while Robinson dominated the boards with eight rebounds.

The Clippers, who had trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half, had taken a four-point lead in the third quarter on a dunk by Leonard, but the Knicks responded with an 8-0 spurt to regain the advantage. Harden and Immanuel Quickley traded 3-pointers in the final seconds of the period, setting the stage for the Knicks’ decisive run in the fourth.

Clippers lose Plumlee to injury

The Clippers’ night got worse when they lost backup center Mason Plumlee to a knee injury in the second quarter. Plumlee was hurt when Randle crashed into his leg while diving for a loose ball. Plumlee had to be helped off the court and did not return to the game. He had four points and three rebounds in nine minutes before the injury.

Plumlee’s absence left the Clippers thin in the frontcourt, as they were already without Serge Ibaka, who missed his third straight game with a sore back. The Knicks took advantage of the Clippers’ lack of size and depth, outrebounding them 52-38 and outscoring them 50-36 in the paint.

What’s next for both teams

The Knicks improved to 4-6 with the win, while the Clippers fell to 7-4 with the loss. Both teams will continue their road trips on Wednesday, as the Knicks will visit the San Antonio Spurs and the Clippers will face the Brooklyn Nets. The Knicks will try to build on their momentum and climb back to .500, while the Clippers will look to bounce back and integrate Harden into their system.

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