NBA: Clippers win 57th; Griffin out for finale
LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin scored 24 points while picking up his 16th technical, and the Los Angeles Clippers led all the way in beating the Denver Nuggets 117-105 on Tuesday night for their franchise-record 57th victory of the season.
Chris Paul had 21 points and 10 assists, and J.J. Redick added 18 points in the Clippers’ finale at home, where they went 34-7 for another franchise mark. DeAndre Jordan had 13 points and 16 rebounds.
The win kept the Clippers in the hunt for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They would need to win at Portland and Oklahoma City would need to lose to Detroit on Wednesday night for the Clippers to claim the second spot. Otherwise, they will remain the third seed.
Los Angeles will have to get by without Griffin on the road since his 16th tech triggered a league-mandated one-game suspension.
Kenneth Faried led the Nuggets with 21 points and Aaron Brooks added 19. Timofey Mozgov had 18 points and 11 rebounds as Denver’s three-game winning streak ended.
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 Brooklyn.
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.
How is New York not in the playoffs? Even without Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks beat Brooklyn on Tuesday night — their third double-digit win over the Nets this season.
And that means five seedings will be decided on the season’s final night.
Indiana is No. 1, Miami is No. 2 and Atlanta is No. 8. Brooklyn could have wrapped up No. 5 on Tuesday.
Toronto controls its destiny for No. 3, Brooklyn can still win to get No. 5 and Washington can ensure it finishes no worse than No. 6 with a victory.
More end-of-season madness awaits: Four seedings are undecided.
San Antonio is No. 1, Houston is No. 4, Portland is No. 5 and Golden State is No. 6.
The Clippers could have settled two more seeds if they had lost Tuesday night, but their win over Denver kept them alive in the race with Oklahoma City for No. 2.
Those controlling their fates on the season’s final night: Oklahoma City in the race for No. 2, and Dallas and Memphis in the race for No. 7 — which works out nicely, since they play one another.
First-round matchups if the season ended Tuesday:
East: Indiana-Atlanta, Miami-Charlotte, Toronto-Washington, Chicago-Brooklyn.
West: San Antonio-Memphis, Oklahoma City-Dallas, L.A. Clippers-Golden State, Houston-Portland.
NOTE OF THE DAY
Barring some historically low-scoring games on the final night, this NBA season will see more total points than ever before. The current mark is 247,100 set in 2009-10; this season’s pace is for around 248,000 points to be scored.
By wire sources