NEW YORK -- Staring at another seven-game trip that began Friday, the Los Angeles Clippers decided it'd be more fun to be the ones doing the kicking.
The Clippers got an all-around performance at Madison Square Garden, defeating the New York Knicks, 109-95, to a chorus of boos.
The last time the Clippers went on the road for seven games in a row, it started horribly in Atlanta, where they got beat, 107-97, in a game that wasn't as close as the final score.
"We got our (expletives) kicked," DeAndre Jordan said.
But this journey started with the Clippers winning a season-high fifth game in a row. They are 5-1 since Chris Paul suffered a separated shoulder.
"It's something CP always says when we're on a road trip. 'You can't win them all without winning the first one,'" Blake Griffin said.
Without Paul, Griffin has elevated his game, and he did so again on a big stage. Griffin scored 32 points to go with seven rebounds, two assists and three steals. He even found time to talk a little trash with some of the Knicks' famous fans sitting courtside, including Spike Lee.
"It's fun when the guys sitting courtside are talking to you," he said. "And, obviously, it's a lot more fun when you win."
The Clippers survived a slow start offensively to tie by halftime. Then in the third quarter, their defense locked in as the offense finally started to pick up. The Clippers outscored New York by 14 in the second half.
Jamal Crawford, who had flu symptoms before the game, rallied to score 29 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter.
But it was Griffin who stole the show, throwing down his signature dunk, guarding Carmelo Anthony in stretches and even hitting a 3-point shot.
"He's just been great. It's been all year. He's doing everything," Coach Doc Rivers said. "He's rebounding. We put him on Carmelo down the stretch. He's doing everything a coach could ask him to do. And, he's leading."
Hedo Turkoglu knows it's going to take patience.
The 14-year veteran made his first appearance with the Clippers on Friday at Madison Square Garden, and he understands that he's not the player who once averaged nearly 20 points a game. Heck, he knows he's not the same player who averaged 11 points in 2010-11.
No, this is a different Turkoglu, once who is trying to shake off two years of rust in his first NBA game of the season.
"I can't rush into certain things I've done in the past," he said before Friday's game. "When time goes by and I start spending more time with guys, I'll learn more and more what they really want from me and what I can do."
The plan, eventually, is for Turkoglu to be another offensive weapon. He is a career 38.1 percent shooter from 3-point range. The Clippers hope he can eventually regain the form he exhibited earlier in his career.
The Magic waived Turkoglu earlier this season. He has only played 11 games the past two years, and hasn't been on the court since last February.
"I always think about it, that somebody, somehow would believe in me and what I did in my career and give me a shot. For that, I always tried to keep myself ready, mentally. I was trying to work out all the time and keep myself in as great of shape as I can.
"I haven't been able to practice with anybody. I need some time to be able to observe things with this group of guys and just enjoy every second of it."
Turkoglu signed a deal with the Clippers for the rest of the season Thursday morning, choosing them because of the roster, coaching staff and philosophy.
"They really want to win," he said. "All I have to do now is work harder than I ever did and put myself in the best shape I can and try to fit is as quick as I can."
Rivers said he knows it'll be a struggle for Turkoglu, particularly because the Clippers won't have much practice time during their current seven-game trip.
"That'll hurt him," Rivers said.
With only a walkthrough at the team hotel under his belt, Rivers trusted Turkoglu enough to use him Friday.
Turkoglu played more than 6 minutes, making his only shot.
"He looked good. He really looked good," Rivers said. "I was surprised. You could just see that he had rhythm. I don't know how you do that. He hasn't played in awhile."
Crawford stars at Garden
Madison Square Garden brings out the best in a lot of players. Friday, it got the best from Jamal Crawford, who tossed in 29 points after suffering flu symptoms in the locker room.
"I felt something wrong with my stomach all day yesterday and today," he said. "It was weird. I think it's (the flu). Right before we went out, it came out."
Crawford didn't go out for pregame warmups, but he was always going to play.
"I love playing here," he said. "It's my favorite arena to play in."
Crawford, who spent parts of five seasons with New York, scored 14 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Clippers pull away.
Rookie Reggie Bullock returned to action for the first time since spraining his ankle at Cleveland on Dec. 7 ...
Five Clippers scored in double figures. ...
Knicks star Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and 20 rebounds, but the Clippers held him to 4-of-23 shooting. ...
The Clippers play at Indiana on Saturday night. The Pacers have the league's top record and are 20-1 on their home court.
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