NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 15th (All times Eastern)
Denver Nuggets (36-44) at Los Angeles Clippers (56-24), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - 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 season.
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 season."
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 10:34:45 ET