Things have been strange in the Big Apple recently, but on Wednesday, they got even weirder.
Blake Griffin scored 32 points, Carmelo Anthony missed a game-tying shot in the final seconds, and former Knicks star Charles Oakley was ejected from the arena as the Los Angeles Clippers came back to beat New York, 119-115, at Madison Square Garden.
Before the game began, the Knicks provided plenty of fireworks for the front pages of New York City after team president Phil Jackson took a dig at Anthony on Twitter.
Bleacher's Ding almost rings the bell, but I learned you don't change the spot on a leopard with Michael Graham in my CBA daze. — Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) February 7, 2017
Anthony reportedly has privately told teammates he won't not let Jackson "run him out of town," and said that he would not be distracted on the court.
However, Knicks head coach Heff Hornacek admitted before the game that the tweet and subsequent media speculation that followed may have been a distraction.
If the ongoing Jackson-Anthony drama had deterred the Knicks, it didn't show on the court, even as Jackson sat above the court like a winged cloud, New York led throughout the game, including by 10 points early in the fourth quarter.
"We bounced back from that Lakers game," said Melo. "The effort was there. The fight was there. We couldn't pull it out at the end."
The Clippers would come back, going on a 21-9 run thanks to Griffin and first-time All-Star DeAndre Jordan. Jordan chipped in 28 points, 15 rebounds, and two blocks to help lift the Clippers past the Knicks.
Griffin's 32 points were a season-high, and Austin Rivers added a career-high 10 assists in the game. Jamal Crawford scored 20 points off the bench, including five straight points in the final seconds to secure the win for the Clippers.
"The way we got down...guys were fighting, guys were scrapping," said Griffin after the game. "Jamal [Crawford] was huge, DJ was huge, Austin [Rivers] was great down the stretch. We have to put that together for 48 minutes."
Anthony had 28 points and Kristaps Porzingis contributed 27 points. Derrick Rose had one of his best games as a Knick with 20 points and eight assists.
Despite the performance of many of the Knicks starters on the court, it was the performance of a former Knick off the court that overshadowed the game, especially early in the first half.
Former Knicks star power forward Charles Oakley was carried out of the arena by security after a physical altercation in the first quarter.
Oakley appeared to be going after Knicks owner James Dolan who was sitting courtside at the time. After he was blocked and confronted by security, Oakley grew angry, physically pushing multiple officials before he was carried out by a pack of security.
The Knicks PR staff released a statement shortly thereafter, saying that Oakley had been arrested by the New York Police Department.
Things got even more strange later in the game when Spencer Checketts, son of former Knicks president Dave Checketts (who was fired by Dolan), tweeted that his dad was trying to bail Oakley out of jail.
Just got off the phone with my dad. He's currently attempting to bail Oakley out of jail. This is beyond said. Knicks should be ashamed. — Spencer Checketts (@1280Spence) February 9, 2017
Meanwhile, back on the court, Anthony missed a three-pointer with 5.9 seconds left that would have tied the game. Instead, Griffin was fouled and put the game away with a free throw.
"They were running a double drag action so Derrick [Rose] came off there and Porzingis was going to roll to the basket," said Hornacek of the final play. "He threw it back to Melo who has made those shots before."
The loss snapped a three-game losing streak for the Clippers who have been falling in the Western Conference standings without point guard Chris Paul.
The Knicks are now in the midst of their own three-game losing streak as the dysfunctional franchise has now hit a season-low after they were swept by both L.A. based teams at home in back-to-back games.
Clippers: The Grammy road trip continues as the Clippers head to Charlotte on Saturday to take on Michael Jordan's Hornets.
Knicks: New York will continue their high-profile drama when they host Carmelo Anthony's former team, the Denver Nuggets on Friday.