5 Things to Know: Knicks Kickstart West Coast Trip with Matchup Against Clippers (Porzingis will ret

1. Four days ago, the Nets topped the Knicks 121-110 at MSG behind Brook Lopez’s 24 points. Derrick Rose posted 22 and Kyle O’Quinn scored 23 points in 26 minutes in the defeat. The 38-point third quarter was the turning point in the contest as Brooklyn knocked down five straight 3-pointers in the period. The game marked the final matchup in the season series between the two teams.

2. Kristaps Porzingis will return to action on Monday night in Los Angeles. The second-year big man practiced with the team on Sunday after missing Thursday’s game against the Nets. He was diagnosed with a contused left thigh suffered in the Tuesday win over the Pacers. Head coach Jeff Hornacek said Porzingis will start but he hasn’t decided on the frontcourt alignment to match Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

3. The Clippers snapped a three-game slide on Saturday night by defeating the shorthanded Cavaliers at the Staples Center. Blake Griffin registered 23 points and eight rebounds to help Los Angeles earn the 108-78 win past the defending champs. Los Angeles improved to 22-11 in home games this season.

4. As the stretch run to the postseason begins, the Clippers are finally healthy with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin back in the starting lineup together. At 41-29, Los Angeles is clinging to a half-game lead ahead of the Thunder for the fifth spot in the latest Western Conference standings. If the playoffs started today, the Clippers would square off against the Utah Jazz in the first round.

5. In the first meeting between the two teams, Los Angeles escaped MSG with a 119-115 win as Griffin dropped 32 points and Jordan grabbed 15 boards. Carmelo Anthony and Porzingis combined for 55 points while the Knicks shot 50 percent from the floor in the February 8 contest at the Garden.

by Jonah Ballow

NYKnicks.com @jonahballow

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