David Lee scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half, and the New York Knicks erased a 20-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 95-91 on Friday night.
Chris Duhon added 17 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Knicks, who never led until the fourth quarter but found a way to win after blowing leads while losing their last two games. Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler each finished with 14 points.
Jonathan Bender scored nine points in his first action since Nov. 5, 2005.
Chris Kaman had 20 points and nine rebounds, and Baron Davis scored 19 points for the Clippers, who were looking for a third straight win but managed only 33 points in the second half.
The Clippers had won four straight against the Knicks, a streak that figured to continue after they dominated the first half. But Lee turned around the game with 13 points in the third quarter, and he tipped in a missed shot for the go-ahead basket with 28 seconds left, one of his 11 rebounds in the game against the Clippers' big front line of Kaman and Marcus Camby.
The Clippers never led in the fourth quarter until Davis' 3-pointer made it 91-90 with 36 seconds left. Lee then tipped in Al Harrington's miss eight seconds later to put the Knicks back on top, and the Clippers turned it over on Al Thornton's offensive foul. Duhon's free throw made it a two-point game before Rasual Butler was short on a potential winning 3-point attempt with about 1 second remaining.
Los Angeles scored 16 straight points in the first quarter, turning a two-point lead into a 26-8 bulge on Davis' jumper with 3:42 remaining in the period. The Clippers led 31-16 after a first quarter in which the Knicks made only six of their 24 field-goal attempts.
Bender came in late in the quarter and quickly had a basket and 3-pointer. Injuries wrecked his previous three NBA seasons, and he announced in February 2006 that he could no longer play because of persistent knee pain. The No. 5 pick in the 1999 draft had been out of the NBA before signing with the Knicks on Sunday, given another chance by team president Donnie Walsh, who traded for Bender while in Indiana.
The Clippers pushed the lead to 20 midway through the second and led 58-42 at halftime, but then shot only 4 of 18 in the third quarter.
Lee scored the final five points in a 14-4 spurt to open the second half that cut it to 62-56, then scored New York's final eight points of the period, including a layup with 4.7 seconds left that sent it to the fourth tied at 72.
NOTES: Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said Blake Griffin, out all season with a stress fracture of his left patella, is scheduled for a CT-scan early next week and the team hopes afterward the No. 1 draft pick will be able to take the next step in his rehab. ... Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni grew angry with a series of questions about Nate Robinson, insisting the benching of the popular guard was strictly a basketball matter and not a personality one. "We're trying to win," D'Antoni said. "I can't explain exactly every second the ins and outs, and we were on a roll and that roll doesn't quit just because you lose a game. You see over time if this works or not." ... The game was scheduled for an 8 p.m. start, a half-hour later than most Knicks home games, because it was originally to be televised on ESPN.