- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Here are a few things to keep an eye on during tonight’s Knicks-Clippers game:
Home cooking: The New York Knicks (15-24) kick off an eight-game homestand against the Los Angeles Clippers (27-13). That ties a franchise record for longest homestand. And it could be a make-or-break stretch for New York. The club has lost two straight and is back at nine games under .500.
Right now, the Knicks are on the outside of the playoff picture -- and that’s saying something in the awful Eastern Conference. The Knicks enter play Friday 1.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. They are five games behind first-place Toronto in the Atlantic Division.
Of course, the way things look in the Least-ern Conference, the Knicks could make the playoffs with a record below .500.
But if they want to avoid a first-round matchup with Miami or Indiana, it would behoove the Knicks to gain some ground during this homestand.
No CP3? No problem: The Clippers have played well without injured point guard Chris Paul. Doc Rivers & Co. have won four of five since Paul went down with a shoulder injury Jan. 3.
Point guard Darren Collison has filled in admirably.
The backup has averaged 16.6 points with a 3.6-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio over the past five games with Paul out, according to Stats LLC.
Tyler has played 11 minutes in nine games since signing with the Knicks. He has been used mostly in garbage time.
With Metta World Peace out (knee) and Tyson Chandler still working his way back from an illness, the Knicks will be awfully thin on the front line. So Woodson may play Tyler significant minutes against Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers’ front line.
Los Angeles ranks 15th in rebound percentage. The Knicks are 29th.
Help from turnovers? The Knicks scored just three points off Indiana turnovers in their blowout loss to the Pacers on Thursday. That was their lowest total in any game since Dec. 7, 2008, when they scored three points off turnovers while beating the Pistons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Can the Knicks generate some easy points off turnovers against Collison and the Clippers?
Los Angeles is seventh in turnover rate (the percentage of a team’s possessions that end in a turnover). The Knicks take care of the ball well, ranking second in that category.
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