NBA: LA Clippers set club record with 57th win
LOS ANGELES // The Los Angeles Clippers rolled past Denver 117-105 on Tuesday for a club-record 57th win that kept their hopes of claiming the NBA Western Conference second seed alive.
Blake Griffin had 24 points – and was assessed his 16th technical foul of the season – in the victory.
Chris Paul added 21 points and 10 assists for Los Angeles, who must beat Portland on Wednesday, the last night of the regular season, and have the lowly Detroit Pistons beat the Thunder in Oklahoma City to earn the second seed behind San Antonio in the Western Conference playoffs.
DeAndre Jordan scored 13 points and pulled down 16 rebounds for the Clippers, who snapped the Nuggets’ three-game winning streak.
Kenneth Faried had 21 points and six rebounds and Timofey Mozgov contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds for Denver.
Griffin was assessed the technical foul with 3:23 left in the second quarter, when he tried to swipe the ball away from a driving Mozgov and hit him in the head.
Griffin’s 16th technical of the season will trigger a one-game suspension on Wednesday under NBA rules -- unless league officials overturn the “T” upon review of the play.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said it would make no difference to his plans, since he wanted Griffin to skip the trip to Portland anyway.
“Worst case, he’s suspended for one game,” Rivers said. “I’m not going to bring him tomorrow anyway. I want Blake to stay home and get some rest. He’s so banged-up.”
Rivers was pleased to see his team improve on their previous regular-season record of 56 wins -- set last season before a first-round playoff exit -- but he said the real goal remains a title.
“I’m very happy that we’re doing this stuff, but it’s not what we want,” he said.
KNICKS 109, NETS 98
NEW YORK // Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points and the New York Knicks, playing without the injured Carmelo Anthony, beat the Brooklyn Nets to win the season series between city rivals.
The Knicks prevented the Nets from clinching the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and won their third straight in their too-little, too-late strong finish. Amare Stoudemire and J.R. Smith each added 14 points.
Anthony had an MRI exam Tuesday that revealed a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He won’t play Wednesday against Toronto, the final game of the first season in his 11-year career that won’t end with a playoff berth – and potentially his last as a member of the Knicks. He has said he will become a free agent in July.
Marcus Thornton scored 24 points for the Nets, who weren’t sharp despite playing starters Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. The other starter, Shaun Livingston, remained sidelined with a sprained right big toe.
The Nets still have a magic number of one for finishing fifth. But they could fall to No. 6 if they lose Wednesday in Cleveland and Washington beats Boston.
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Published: April 16, 2014 04:00 AM