LOS ANGELES — The Clippers didn’t need Carmelo Anthony on their side to look like Western Conference title contenders for one night. Not against this Knicks ensemble.
The Knicks began their four-game western swing in predictably defenseless fashion as Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan blasted them in a 114-105 rout at Staples Center on Monday.
Always a tough cover against the Knicks, Griffin ripped them for 30 points (12-of-19 shooting) with his inside-outside magnificence. A free agent to be, Paul dribbled circles around the Knicks at times and wound up with 13 points and 13 assists. Jordan added 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Clippers led by 25 after three quarters.
Anthony, who has been subject of trade talks between the Clippers and Knicks for more than a year, had a relatively quiet evening with 16 points in 26 minutes and sat for garbage time in the fourth quarter.
It was a surreal night with all four head coaches in Phil Jackson’s reign present at Staples Center, as was Jackson himself. Mike Woodson is a Clippers assistant, vindicated Derek Fisher did the game for TNT, Kurt Rambis still is on the Knicks bench and Jeff Hornacek is the current head man to fail.
At one juncture, Hornacek stood near midcourt, hands in his pockets, looking on in defensive disbelief.
Before the game, Clippers president/coach Doc Rivers was asked if he’d be watching Anthony as a general manager.
“I’ll watch him as a coach,’’ Rivers said. “Lawrence [Frank] is the GM by the way. I’ll let him do the watching.”
An offer on the table was Austin Rivers (15 points), Doc’s son, and ex-Knick Jamal Crawford, who celebrated his 37th birthday Monday. Rivers indicated it wasn’t anything the Clippers had considered.
“We would’ve liked to make a move,’’ Rivers said of the deadline. “There was no good offer out there. If some of those trades [the media] proposed were true, we’d have done all of them. Sweet trades you propose. Unfortunately both teams didn’t agree to those trades.”
Derrick Rose and foul-plagued Kristaps Porzingis each scored 18 points. Porzingis also had nine rebounds.
The Clippers took a 63-53 lead at halftime behind 20 points from Griffin and the team shooting 56 percent shooting. As usual, Griffin tore up the Knicks from everywhere and had a giant block on rookie center Willy Hernangomez at the rim.
Paul notched eight assists in the first half and hooked up twice for alley-oops with Jordan, who threw it down so hard the stanchions shook for several seconds.
With Porzingis getting two fouls in the first quarter, undrafted rookie center Marshall Plumlee was inserted. He powered in early for a layup, then got fouled on another power move but missed both free throws. Porzingis started the game 0-for-4, but he returned from the bench to hit five straight baskets before picking up his third foul.
After a quiet start, Anthony hit two jumpers over Griffin late in the first half, faking him out twice with his patented jab-step. He finished with 13 points at halftime with a late surge. A faint chant of “We want Melo’’ was heard briefly in the first half.