Streaking Clippers host downtrodden Knicks

The New York Knicks look to snap out of a seven-game skid as they continue a seven-game road swing Sunday against the surging host Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers won their fifth straight and seventh in the last eight games with a 132-111 rout of the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. The win completed the Clippers’ first four-game season sweep of their crosstown counterparts since 2015-16.

Reggie Jackson complemented a season-high 36 points with nine assists and eight rebounds.

“He’s a big-time player,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said of Jackson. “I know sometimes we go back and forth but at the end of the day he’s held us together all year.”

Jackson has produced games of 24 points and eight assists Feb. 12 at Dallas; 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds Feb. 14 against Golden State; 12 points and 14 assists Feb. 17 vs. Houston; and 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists at Houston last Sunday.

All were Los Angeles wins.

The Clippers have also had key contributions from Ivica Zubac, who has scoring and rebounding double-doubles in four of his last seven.

Their play has helped buoy a Clippers team dealing with a variety of injury issues throughout the season. Kawhi Leonard has yet to appear in 2021-22 due to a partially torn ACL sustained in last summer’s playoffs, and Paul George last played Dec. 22 due to an elbow injury.

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Los Angeles acquired Norman Powell in a trade from Portland last month, and he scored 63 points combined in his first three games with the Clippers. Powell suffered a fracture in his left foot that has sidelined him indefinitely.

While Los Angeles comes into Sunday’s matchup hot, New York is enduring its worst stretch of the season.

The Knicks dropped their seventh straight and 14th in the last 16 games. New York opened its current, seven-game road trip on Wednesday in a 123-108 loss at Philadelphia.

The Knicks began the Western Conference stretch of their trek on Friday against the Phoenix Suns, owners of the NBA’s best record. New York led by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter and pulled ahead 114-112 with 7.1 seconds remaining on the first of two free throws by Alec Burks.

Burks missed the second but Phoenix won 115-114 on the ensuing possession when Cameron Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds to go.

Johnson scored 21 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter after Julius Randle was ejected for pushing Johnson. Randle had a team-high 25 points when he was tossed.

“He was hooping, carrying us tonight, he was on his way to a 40-point night,” RJ Barrett said of Randle. “It would’ve helped us with the energy he brought to the game. But we still should’ve won that game.”

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Barrett is averaging 30 points per game over the last four since returning from a four-game absence due to an ankle injury before the All-Star break. He scored a career-high 46 points Feb. 25 against Eastern Conference-leading Miami.

Barrett finished with a team-high 28 points when the Knicks and Clippers last met, a 110-102 New York win on Jan. 23. Jackson paced Los Angeles with 26 points in the loss.

–Field Level Media

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