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                ***** NBA Previews from The Sports Network *****
                              Tuesday, April 15th
                              (All times Eastern)
 ( - The Brooklyn Nets try to secure the fifth spot in the
 Eastern Conference standings and close a three-game homestand on a positive
 note when they host the rival New York Knicks Tuesday.
 The Nets are 1 1/2 games ahead of Washington for the No. 5 spot with two games
 remaining, while the Wizards have just one game left. The Wizards hold the
 tiebreaker by virtue of a 3-0 mark against the Nets this season.
 After having a franchise-record 15-game home winning streak come to an end
 versus Atlanta on Friday, the Nets responded with Sunday's 97-88 victory over
 Orlando at Barclays Center.
 Mirza Teletovic came off the bench and scored a game-high 20 points and added
 six rebounds, while Joe Johnson and Mason Plumlee netted 17 apiece. Plumlee
 also grabbed 11 rebounds for the Nets, winners in four of six games and owners
 of a 34-15 record since the start of January.
 "We've got to try to fine-tune and keep this chemistry that we have going into
 the postseason," Johnson said.
 Deron Williams tallied 16 points in the win to help Brooklyn to a 28-12 record
 as the host. The Nets are 23-3 in their last 26 home games and 35-11 when
 holding teams under 100 points. In injury news for the Nets, guard Shaun
 Livingston (toe) is questionable Tuesday.
 Nets veteran forward Paul Pierce, the newest member of the 25,000-point club,
 had 10 points versus the Magic and is three shy of reaching 1,000 for a 15th
 straight season. He would become the only active player in the NBA and just
 the sixth player in league history to score 1,000 points in 15 or more
 consecutive seasons.
 The others were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes
 and Robert Parish.
 Brooklyn will close the regular season at Cleveland on Wednesday.
 Meanwhile, the Knicks were hoping to reach the playoffs for a fourth straight
 season, but missed out on that chance. The Atlanta Hawks were able to sew up
 the eighth and final postseason spot in the East.
 New York has won two straight and five of seven games, and pulled off a 100-89
 victory Sunday versus the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden. Tim Hardaway
 Jr. scored 20 points and both Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith netted 17 in a
 losing cause.
 "We didn't get it done and being the coach, I just apologize to the fans
 because they paid their hard-earned money to come see us play and we didn't
 come into this season expecting this," Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said.
 The Knicks will try to improve their 17-23 road record Tuesday and have won
 eight of the last 11 games as the visitor.
 New York will close the season Wednesday at home versus Toronto and recently
 defeated Brooklyn 110-81 on April 2 at MSG. Smith buried 6-of-12 3-pointers
 for 24 points and Anthony added 23 and 10 rebounds to lead the Knicks, who are
 2-1 in the season series and have won 10 of the past 14 meetings with the
 Nets. The winner in this season's series has scored 100-plus points, while the
 loser has failed to post more than 83.
 New York has won six of eight and nine of its last 12 at the Nets.
 ( - The Los Angeles Clippers are two games away from
 wrapping up another fantastic regular season and will try to set a franchise
 record for wins when they conclude a five-game homestand Tuesday versus the
 Denver Nuggets.
 The Clippers are one victory away from setting a franchise record, which was
 tied with a 56th triumph in Saturday's 117-101 decision over the Sacramento
 Kings. The 2012-13 team finished the season 56-26, but then lost in the first
 round of the playoffs to the Memphis Grizzlies.
 Los Angeles was the fourth seed last season and is trying to capture the No.
 2 spot in the Western Conference. L.A. is locked in at No. 3 and needs to win
 its last two games and have Oklahoma City lose at home to Detroit on
 Wednesday. The Pacific-champion Clippers and Thunder split four meetings this
 The Clippers, who will visit the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday, improved to
 2-2 on the homestand with a convincing victory over the Kings at Staples
 Center. Blake Griffin scored 27 points and handed out nine assists, while
 DeAndre Jordan had 21 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks.
 Chris Paul posted a near triple-double with 17 points, 10 assists and seven
 rebounds for the Clippers, winners in 19 of the last 23 games and owners of a
 33-7 home record. Only Indiana (35-6) has a better record at home.
 "We're still playing for something," Paul said on the team's website. "We can
 keep building confidence on defense. We're at our best when we're running and
 getting stops."
 The Clippers are the best scoring team in the NBA at 107.9 ppg. They have
 reached 100 or more points in each of the last eight games and are 35-12 since
 January 1.
 Denver is playing out the string and will miss the playoffs for the first time
 since 2002-03. It has been playing better down the stretch with three straight
 wins and four in the past six games.
 Injuries and lack of chemistry under head coach Brian Shaw have hampered the
 Nuggets and they'll try to end the season on a high note. The Nuggets are
 coming off Saturday's 101-94 win versus the Utah Jazz, as Kenneth Faried
 posted 24 points with a career-high 21 rebounds.
 Faried is posting an average of 19.9 points and 11.0 rebounds since March 1.
 Randy Foye netted a team-high 26 points and Evan Fournier came off the bench
 and supplied 23 for Denver, which scored 67 points in the second half after
 failing to record at least 20 points in each of the first two periods.
 "The effort of the guys competing and playing hard I thought everyone
 contributed in their own special way," Shaw said. "The guys really have
 something going and I'm proud of them the way they are finishing up the
 Shaw's words were a far cry from how he felt during the season when he
 questioned the team's pride and effort.
 The Nuggets are 14-26 on the road and ended a six-game slide as the visitor
 with a win at Golden State on April 10. In other team news, guard Randy Foye
 has made 186 3-pointers this season -- good enough for second in team lore
 behind Dale Ellis' 192 baskets from downtown (1996-97).
 Denver guard Ty Lawson (knee) is expected to miss Tuesday's game against the
 Clippers and hasn't played since April 4 at Memphis (4 games).
 Los Angeles has lost two of three games to Denver this season and is 1-4 in
 the previous five meetings between the teams. The Nuggets, though, have
 dropped three in a row and six of seven games at the Clippers.
 04/15 10:38:30 ET

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