LOS ANGELES -- Win or lose, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers was scheduled to end Wednesday night boarding a late-night flight to Orlando, Fla., where he will spend Thanksgiving Day with his family on Thursday before heading back west on Friday.
How much Rivers enjoys the holidays -- and beyond -- might rest on the status of Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who left the game in the third quarter with a right hamstring strain and did not return to action.
Paul did join his teammates on the bench for the final two minutes, his right leg wrapped in ice and appearing in good spirits.
The Clippers carried on without their All-Star point guard, alternately sprinting to double-digit leads and giving up spurts by the Knicks. It was good enough for the Clippers to stay ahead of New York, but certainly not sufficient to comfortably put the Knicks away until one final push over the tail end of the fourth quarter.
"When someone goes down, someone's gotta step up," Clippers forward Blake Griffin said. "Hopefully he's alright."
The Knicks dropped their seventh straight game.
"We didn't want to have a letdown against these guys," Griffin said. "I'm proud (of) the way we stayed with it."
Paul eventually ended the Knicks run with a free throw, followed by a three by forward Jared Dudley and the Clippers were back on top, eventually taking a 49-45 lead into halftime with a 9-3 run to end the second quarter.
Still, it was another example of the Clippers' inability to bury opponents, an issue that's plagued them this year as they battle through long stretches of inconsistency.
NOTES: Knicks PG Raymond Felton, who missed the last four games with a hip injury, was back in the lineup against the Clippers despite not being completely healthy. The Knicks dropped all four games that Felton missed, sinking them to last place in the Atlantic Division. ... After sitting on the bench for all 14 games to start the season, Clippers F Antawn Jamison finally got some run on Sunday in a win over the Bulls and responded with 11 points in 15 minutes. He was back in action on Wednesday against the New York Knicks and seems to have earned a spot in the rotation. "He's great," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "He fits that unit so well because with Jamal able to score and DC's speed, an extra shooter is a terrific. Moving forward, I will try to use him, except in back-to-back games."