Register their 57th win – a franchise record
The LA Clippers are zeroing in on the playoffs but still have to take care of some unfinished business. Blake Griffin scored 24 points, Chris Paul added 21 with 10 assists and the Clippers cruised past the visiting Denver Nuggets, 117-105, for a franchise-record 57th victory of the season.
The victory kept the Clippers alive for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoff race, currently held by Oklahoma City. Los Angeles would need to win at Portland and have the Thunder lose to Detroit on Wednesday in the regular-season finale.
Lakers will rest backup guard J.J. Redick, and probably Paul, while Griffin is expected to serve a mandatory one-game league-suspension after picking up his 16th technical foul of the season
Otherwise, the Clippers would finish as the No. 3 seed and host No. 6 Golden State Warriors in the opening-round this weekend.
Redick fired in 18 points off the bench while DeAndre Jordan had 13 with 16 rebounds for the Clippers (54-27). Kenneth Faried netted 21 points, Aaron Brooks had 19 while Timofey Mozgov finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for lottery-bound Denver.
The Clippers opened the game on a 13-0 run en route to a 63-46 halftime cushion. The gap grew to 23 in the third quarter before the Nuggets came alive and closed on a 19-4 run to pull within 88-80 heading into the game of it.
Denver drew to within 91-86 with 8 minutes 42 seconds left to play but the Clippers responded with a game-sealing 8-1 run. Jamal Crawford made three free throws, Darren Collison hit a jumper and Glen Davis completed a three-point play to make it 99-87, as the Clippers sailed home with the win.
Knicks thrash Nets
Tim Hardaway Jr. tossed in 16 points, Cole Aldrich added 13 with as many rebounds, and the visiting Knicks clipped the Nets to win the season series 3-1.
Amar’e Stoudemire, J.R. Smith and Shannon Brown had 14 points apiece for the lottery-bound Knicks (36-45), whose third straight win prevented the Nets from locking up the No. 5 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
Marcus Thornton topped the Nets (44-37) with 24 points and fellow-reserve Mason Plumlee had 16 with nine boards.