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Knicks finally put it together at Staples

LOS ANGELES - The Knicks are no-longer 0-for-Staples Center against the Clippers.

David Lee had 29 points and 10 rebounds and Al Harrington scored six of his 26 points in the final 1:12 as the Knicks snapped a 10-game road losing streak against the Clips with a 113-107 victory Sunday night.

The margin of defeat in six of those games at Staples was five or fewer points. The last time the Knicks won in Los Angeles was March 25, 1998 - their fifth straight win at the L.A. Sports Arena. The coach that season was Jeff Van Gundy, whose lineup included Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston, John Starks, Charles Oakley and Larry Johnson.

"That's strange. They never told us that," Harrington said after the Knicks completed their five-game trip. "I wasn't here for all 10 losses, but I'm happy we finally broke that slide."

Baron Davis had 23 points and 11 assists and Chris Kaman added 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Clippers, who have lost five straight and 16 of their last 19. They reached the 50-loss mark for the 18th time since the franchise moved from San Diego to Los Angeles for the 1984-85 season.

The Clippers, who came in as the league's fourth-worst three-point shooting team at 33.3 percent, were 7-for-28 as they equaled a season high for attempts. It was the 27th time this season that they took at least 20 shots from behind the arc, and they are 7-20 in those games.

"We didn't want to force them to shoot threes. We just wanted to play hard and not allow them to get easy baskets in the paint," Harrington said. "That's when we usually struggle to win games, when teams get 40 to 50 points in the paint against us.

"We didn't want Kaman to just go one-on-one all night, so by us double-teaming him, that left a guy on the outside to make a shot. We tried to rotate as best as we could, which we did, pretty much."

Clippers forward Rasual Butler made his third three-pointer of the game with 9:15 remaining to break the single-season franchise record of 139, set by Terry Dehere in 1995-96. But Butler was 3-for-11 from three-point range and missed a critical shot from behind the line in the final 30 seconds.

"I'm a three-point shooter, and I know they want me to shoot when I'm open," Butler said. "I think I had good looks. I didn't make as many as I would have liked to."

Trailing by as many as 14 points with 81/2 minutes left in the third quarter, the Clippers closed to 94-92 on a dunk by reserve forward DeAndre Jordan with 7:25 to play. They pulled even at 103 on Drew Gooden's tip-in with 2:56 left but never got the lead after that. Harrington helped put it away with a short hook shot and four free throws.

"They played us tough, but we got the win. We just stuck with it," Harrington said. "We kept sharing the basketball and got stops when we needed them. They're a dangerous team, especially when Baron's out there playing that way. It was a hard-fought victory, and we needed it at the end of a long road trip."

The Knicks, whose next loss will be their 50th, used their 16th different starting lineup, with Bill Walker playing alongside Chris Duhon in the backcourt. They built a 59-55 halftime lead with 17 points from Harrington and 15 from Lee, who got his first NBA triple-double Friday in a loss at Golden State, tying a career high with 37 points.

The first-time All-Star is one of three players in the league averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds along with Chris Bosh and former Clipper and Knick Zach Randolph.

In the previous meeting on Dec. 18 at Madison Square Garden, Lee made the go-ahead basket with 28 seconds left to help the Knicks pull out a 95-91 win after they trailed by as many as 20 points. It was one of three games the Clippers have lost this season after leading by at least 20, including Saturday's 98-90 defeat at Denver.

Notes & quotes: Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni was on the bench watching his team go through its pregame paces at the exact moment former Knicks coach Don Nelson tied Lenny Wilkens' record of 1,332 regular-season wins with Golden State's 113-112 squeaker at Toronto. Nelson was fired with 26 games left in his only season as Knicks coach (1995-96) and replaced by Van Gundy. "It's an unbelievable milestone," D'Antoni told The Associated Press. "Don's been a great coach for a lot of years and he's one of the best in the game. He's a little bit of a mad genius out there the way he does things, but he's very innovative and the players buy into it. He has a unique way to play the game, and he's always been successful with it. I don't know the inner workings of it, but he's obviously doing something right."

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