LOS ANGELES — When he wasn’t scoring, Elton Brand was making it difficult for the New York Knicks to put points on the board.
Brand had 32 points and tied his career high with eight blocked shots, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 90-80 victory over the Knicks on Sunday.
The Knicks never led in their fifth straight road loss.
Brand scored 15 points in the first 7:17 of the game and didn’t make another field goal until his tip-in of Cuttino Mobley’s missed 12-footer with 7:09 left in the third quarter. But Brand blocked seven shots during that drought, helping the Clippers increase their 13-point halftime lead to 62-45.
Chris Kaman had 13 rebounds for the Clippers, who have won four of their last five games following a six-game losing streak.
Both teams played their final game with the NBA’s much maligned new basketball, which will follow the Edsel, the pet rock and the hula hoop into oblivion on New Year’s Day. The Knicks were 13-20 with it and the Clippers were 14-16.
Suns 108, Pistons 101
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Steve Nash isn’t going to complain about getting a win at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
But he feels the victory deserves an asterisk because of the injury to Pistons All-Star guard Chauncey Billups.
“It’s not like we are going home feeling like we beat the Pistons,” Nash said after the Phoenix Suns’ 108-101 victory Sunday.
Billups strained a calf muscle at the end of Friday’s one-point loss to Indiana, and Nash took full advantage of his absence, finishing with 35 points and 12 assists.
Amare Stoudemire added a season-high 31 points for the Suns and had 13 rebounds and three blocks.
Spurs 95, Hawks 81
SAN ANTONIO — Tim Duncan beat the stomach flu — and the Atlanta Hawks.
Duncan had 17 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, and Tony Parker scored 27 points to help the San Antonio Spurs beat the Hawks 95-81 on Sunday.
Joe Johnson scored 23 points for the Hawks and Josh Childress added 19.
Rockets 111, Grizzlies 109
HOUSTON — Tracy McGrady scored a season-high 38 points and had nine rebounds to help Houston hand Memphis interim coach Tony Barone his first loss.
Juwan Howard added a season-high 22 points, and Luther Head had 18 in the Rockets’ third straight win.