- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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If the Knicks want to keep pace with Mike Woodson's most recent goal, Sunday afternoon's game against the Clippers is a must win.
Shortly after the Knicks returned from their game against the Pistons in London, Woodson challenged his team to go 9-2 in the 11 games prior to the All-Star break.
They are 7-2 since, so they need to win their next two to reach Woodson's goal.
Here are some things to keep an eye on during Sunday's game:
OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS: This is the first time in 117 meetings between the Knicks and Clippers that both teams enter the game at least 10 games over .500.
But New York and Los Angeles enter Sunday's game on opposite streaks.
The Clippers have dropped eight of their last 11 games after starting the season 32-9. Chris Paul missed nine straight games before returning in Friday's loss to the Heat. The star point guard scored just three points and handed out two assists in 20 minutes of action.
Paul is averaging 16.3 points, 9.5 assists and a league-high 2.5 steals per game. Even at less than 100% health, he figures to be a handful for the Knicks, who have struggled to guard point guards of late.
Despite their struggles in defending the lead guard, New York has won six of its last seven.
EMERGING AMAR'E: Amar'e Stoudemire is on a tear in the last 12 games. New York's $100 million sixth (or seventh) man is averaging 16.6 points on 65.1 percent from the field in just 24.1 minutes of action over his last 12 games. The result: New York has won 9 of those 12. The Knicks, you might remember, were just 22-25 with Stoudemire in the lineup last season.
NEMO EFFECT: Both the Clippers and Knicks had to scramble to get to New York as a result of this weekend's snow storm. The Knicks spent an extra night in Minnesota on Friday and flew to New York on Saturday. The Clippers spent the night in Miami on Friday and flew to New York Saturday afternoon.
Will they be affected by the travel? Not likely. NBA teams are used to that kind of travel and each team had time to get a good night's rest before Sunday afternoon's game.
All stats in this post are courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information.
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17dKevin Pelton and Chad Ford