Clippers-Nuggets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 17, 2012
The Denver Nuggets' most recent victory helped the Los Angeles Clippers clinch their first playoff berth in six years. It also moved them closer to securing a postseason spot of their own. Denver seeks its fifth win in six games Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center, but Los Angeles will be looking for a fifth consecutive victory and a third in four tries against the Nuggets this season. Thanks to the Nuggets' 105-102 victory at Houston on Monday, the Clippers (38-23) had locked up their first playoff berth since 2006 before defeating Oklahoma City 92-77 later in the night. Blake Griffin scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Los Angeles, which has loftier goals than simply qualifying for the postseason. "It is something that we're happy about, but by no means is that all we want," Griffin said. "That was one of our goals coming in, but it goes farther than that." Chris Paul, acquired from New Orleans in December to help turn around a franchise that has won a single playoff series since 1976, scored 12 points and added 10 assists. The surging Clippers have won 12 of their last 14. "This is a great feeling," Paul said. "We can celebrate it, be excited about it tonight but tomorrow we're back at work." Los Angeles' lone playoff series victory in the last 35 years came in five games over Denver in 2006 - also the last season the Clippers took three regular-season meetings from the Nuggets. Paul had 25 points and seven assists in a 109-105 road win Jan. 29 in the first matchup. Danilo Gallinari scored a game-high 21 points in Denver's 112-91 victory Feb. 2, but Paul's season-high 36 helped the Clippers to a 103-95 win Feb. 22 in the most recent meeting. The stakes are higher this time around, with the Clippers chasing the Lakers for the Pacific Division title and the Nuggets (34-27) trying to secure their own postseason spot. With Monday's win, Denver moved into sixth place in the Western Conference, one-half game ahead of defending champion Dallas and two games clear of the Rockets and Phoenix. Arron Afflalo scored a game-high 26 points and Ty Lawson added 25 for the Nuggets, who now seek their first three-game winning streak since a four-game run Feb. 29-March 5. "Our awareness of where we are in the season is really starting to heighten now," Afflalo said. "Before, we used to go out there and compete and play the games. Now, we have an ulterior motive almost, in terms of understanding playoff positioning. That's good for a young team." Coach George Karl's squad has won a season-high five straight at home. This will be his 20th consecutive season as an NBA coach with a team finishing .500 or better. "We had opportunities to give up on the game and we didn't do it," Karl said. "It's a huge win for us." The Nuggets have averaged 107.8 points over their last five games, and they lead the league with 103.6 per game this season. The Clippers, though, held the high-powered Thunder to a season-low 25 points in the second half Monday, keeping their opponent under 100 for the 13th time in their last 15 games. "We have enough offensive power to play with anybody, but our defense is what triggers us," Paul said. The Clippers' road win over the Nuggets in January ended a nine-game skid in Denver.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne


USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Mike Shula vs. Wade Phillips: The best story of Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name every NFL regular season MVP

WATCH: Avery Bradley nails buzzer beater to beat Cavs

WATCH: Jimmy Butler taken to locker room in wheel chair

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

‘Crying Jordan’ photographer had no idea it existed until this week

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in the NHL playoff hunt

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker