NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 16th (All times Eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (33-47) at Los Angeles Clippers (54-26), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Clippers find themselves playing great basketball at a great time of the season and they will try to continue it Tuesday night when they host the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Clippers are one-half game behind the Memphis Grizzlies for fourth in the Western Conference and own the tiebreaker over Memphis. The Clippers are guaranteed at least the fourth seed by virtue of winning the Pacific Division, but they could go on the road if the five seed ends up with a better record.
The Grizzlies are a game behind the Denver Nuggets, who reside in third place, and the Clips are 1 1/2 games back.
L.A. has won five straight, including a huge road win over the Grizzlies on Saturday night.
"It's a very big win," Blake Griffin said. "We kind of talked about it all week. We got asked about it, how big this game was and what it would mean. And we came out and took care of business."
The Clippers outscored the Grizzlies, 23-14 in the fourth quarter and came from behind for a 91-87 victory.
It was a spectacular effort from almost every Clippers player who saw action. Ten of the 11 Clippers who played scored at least five points and only Caron Butler was held scoreless. He did not return to the game after playing just nine minutes with a sore right knee. Chauncey Billups sat out the game.
DeAndre Jordan led the Clippers with 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
"(Jordan) was huge," Griffin said. "He ran the floor. He blocked shots. He finished at the rim. He rebounded. He did everything. That's the kind of D.J. we need. He might not get as many scoring opportunities, but he can affect the game in a major way."
Chris Paul had 13 points, followed by 12 from Griffin and 10 from Willie Green.
The Clippers committed only eight turnovers and finish their season with a road trip to the Sacramento Kings.
Portland has been awful of late with 11 consecutive losses. That slide includes four straight on the road on Wednesday.
On Sunday, the Blazers fell in Denver, 118-109. Damian Lillard tried to put the finishing touches on his presumptive Rookie of the Year award with 30 points.
"Damian was terrific as he has been all season and I thought he kind of carried the team and (the Nuggets') small lineup opened up the court a little for us," said Portland head coach Terry Stotts.
The Nuggets were 17 points ahead of the Blazers at the half, but Portland fought back. The Blazers were without starters LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Niclas Batum, but made due.
J.J. Hickson, the only other normal starter in the lineup, had 19 points. Will Barton (17), Eric Maynor (14) and Meyers Leonard (10) all scored in double figures.
The Clippers have taken two of three from the Trail Blazers this season and five of seven overall between the two squads. The Clips have won three straight over Portland in Los Angeles.
04/16 10:26:32 ET