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Knicks crushed by Clippers, drop ninth in row

Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, left, grabs

Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, left, grabs a rebound away from New York Knicks center Andrea Bargnani, center, and center Cole Aldrich at Staples Center on Dec. 31, 2014 in Los Angeles. Photo Credit: AP / Mark J. Terrill

LOS ANGELES - Phil Jackson promised "a better 2015 than 14" to his Twitter followers last week. It can't possibly be worse.

The Knicks ended 2014 in familiar fashion, getting crushed, 99-78, by the Clippers at Staples Center Wednesday night. It was their ninth straight loss and 19th in 20 games. Since beating the 76ers on Nov. 22, they have won once in the last 39 days.

"I don't really like doing the New Year's resolutions, man, but I just want 2015 to be better than 2014," Carmelo Anthony said after leading the Knicks with 19 points.

No one expected the Knicks to be this bad. At 5-29, they have three more losses than the 76ers.

"It's testing," Anthony said. "It's definitely a test for me. I've never been in this situation, being 5-and-29.

"From that standpoint, that's a test to come in every day and still be motivated, still be positive, still try to keep a smile on your face despite everything that's happened with us losing basketball games, injuries and things that we're dealing with."

Jackson attended a road game for the first time this season. Sitting in the stands in the first half and a luxury suite in the second, the Knicks president watched his team play another mostly noncompetitive game.

The Clippers started the third quarter with a 13-0 run to take a 63-40 lead. The Knicks didn't score until 6:28 was left in the quarter. They shot 5-for-17, scored 18 points in the quarter and never got closer than 16 in the fourth.

After the game, coach Derek Fisher spent much longer than usual in the locker room -- roughly 30 minutes -- before speaking to the media. Usually stoic, Fisher got agitated when he was asked what he was doing and whether he was meeting with Jackson.

"The only reason we come out to talk is because it's mandatory," Fisher said. "I came out when I was ready to come out."

Jackson wasn't in the locker room and didn't speak with reporters.

He certainly has his work cut out for him. The Knicks have been looking to make trades, but few of their players have value. They will have a high draft pick, and with nine players in the final year of their deals, they are banking on being able to sign some stars in the summer. But Jackson has said he's concerned that the Knicks' record and performance could impact their ability to sign marquee free agents.

They had hoped that the returns of Andrea Bargnani, who played for the first time since Jan. 22, and J.R. Smith, who had missed 10 straight games with a partial tear of his left plantar fascia, could lift the team. They didn't.

Bargnani shot 4-for-11 and scored nine points in 19:50. Smith was 3-for-10 with seven points in 17:09. "It's good to see guys come back," Anthony said. "But it's still the same emotion after a loss."

Clippers' All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin never got going offensively, but they set up their teammates.

Griffin finished 6-for-16 with 13 points and 11 assists. Paul was just 2-for-11 with five points and eight assists.

J.J. Redick led the Clippers (22-11) with 20 points. DeAndre Jordan shot 6-for-6 and had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

The Knicks will face the Pistons (8-23) Friday night at the Garden, hoping to open 2015 better than they closed 2014.

"We got to start with a win first, try to find a win," Anthony said. "We can't be thinking about the turnaround. We got to find a win here in the next couple of days and see what happens from there."

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