NEW YORK — Doc Rivers sat his starters down early, then benched himself after the game.
Rivers sent out assistant Mike Woodson to handle the postgame interviews, and the former Knicks coach had plenty to smile about after his new team smashed his old one.
DeAndre Jordan raised the NBA's best shooting percentage above 71 percent by making all seven shots and scoring 14 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers pounded New York 111-80 on Wednesday night.
Woodson said his boss claimed he was ill, but he downplayed his first trip back to face the team that fired him as a motivator for the Clippers.
"This is not about me," Woodson said. "I mean, it really isn't. This is about the Clippers and the fine team that Doc has put together. And we're playing for something."
And the Knicks had no chance of slowing them down.
Shooting all night from either right at or above the rim — and once right on top of Jason Smith — Jordan hiked his season percentage to .713, which would be second only to Wilt Chamberlain's .727 in 1972-73.
Chris Paul added 11 points and 16 assists for the Clippers, who won their fifth straight and improved the fourth-best record in the Western Conference to 47-25. Austin Rivers scored 21 points in 19 minutes off the bench.
The only negative for Jordan was grabbing just 10 rebounds — the Clipper starters played less than 30 minutes — to end his streak of games with at least 14 rebounds at 19.
"I knew we had to come out with the right mindset and intensity to win the basketball game," Jordan said. "You can't play teams' records, you've got to play the game and take care of business."
Rookie Cleanthony Early had a season-high 18 points for the Knicks, who lost their fifth straight and moved a loss away from matching the franchise single-season record.
"They played better than us during the game," center Andrea Bargnani said. "Better on defense, they executed better, they shared the ball better."
The Knicks are 14-58, just two seasons after winning 54 games and reaching the second round of the playoffs under Woodson. Woodson was fired after last season by Phil Jackson after going 109-79 with two playoff berths in 2½ seasons.
Woodson's new team outclassed his overmatched old one right from the tip. Paul had nine assists after one quarter — the Knicks had only seven baskets — and the Clippers poured it on in the second period. Jordan's ferocious dunk over Smith with 3.6 seconds left made it 63-33 at halftime and the Clippers led by as much as 40.
Clippers: Rivers was asked whether Jamal Crawford, out since March 2 with a right calf contusion, was progressing or just idling. "Progressing, I don't think so," he said. "So I would say idling." ... Nate Robinson, who hurt his left knee last time out, said he would take a couple of games off, perhaps all of this three-game trip. ... With the Clippers playing two preseason games in China against Charlotte next fall, Rivers said the Clippers would play only six exhibition games, just two after they return.
Knicks: The Knicks said an MRI on guard Alexey Shved on Wednesday revealed an incomplete fractured rib. He will be evaluated in about two to three weeks. ... The Knicks have lost six straight meetings in the series for the first time.
Woodson is third in winning percentage among Knicks coaches at .580, behind only Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, but thought Jackson was committed to making a change after taking over last spring. Woodson said had he stayed, he wouldn't have wanted to make some of the trades Jackson has. "Had I stayed on board, I probably would've pushed to keep Tyson (Chandler) and keep the core group together because that's what won the 54 games two years ago," he said. "But people change and you've got to live with it. It's what it is, I mean they've had a tough season so far and hopefully they can rebound this summer and put some pieces together and get back to winning basketball games."
Clippers: Visit Philadelphia on Friday.
Knicks: Host Boston on Friday.
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