Nuggets-Clippers Preview

The Los Angeles Clippers are as befuddled about the playoff scenarios as just about everybody else in the Western Conference.

They'll try for a sixth straight win in their regular-season home finale against the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.

Los Angeles (54-26) added to the chaos in the West by beating Memphis 94-86 at home Saturday. That created the possibility of a three-way tie or a four-way tie with the Grizzlies, San Antonio and Houston.

"I guess it's more confusing now," coach Doc Rivers said. "When you figure it out, let me know."

The Clippers can finish anywhere from second through sixth in the conference. They are hoping to open at home for the fourth consecutive postseason.

''It would be nice to get that No. 2 seed,'' guard J.J. Redick said. ''We're going to need some help. We still feel like we have another level to get to.''

Los Angeles is starting a back-to-back set with a visit to Phoenix on Tuesday. Chris Paul, who has played every game this season, and Blake Griffin said Saturday that they do not want to miss either contest.

"If they say they need a rest, they're going to get a rest," Rivers said. "If they say they want to play, they're going to play."

The Clippers still have things to work as the regular season winds down. One of them is getting Jamal Crawford back at his best; the reserve has totaled 15 points and shot 5 of 18 in two games after missing 17 with a calf injury.

"He's just trying to get his rhythm back, it's going to take time," Rivers said.

Crawford's presence is one difference from a 107-92 Clippers win the last time these teams met April 4. Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead in the season series as Redick and Paul combined for 48 points and DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and 22 boards.

Paul also finished with nine assists to one turnover. He had an easy time with Denver point guard Ty Lawson scratched due to a sore right forearm and backup Jameer Nelson leaving in the second quarter with a right hip flexor strain.

Nelson has not played since that contest, while Lawson has averaged 15.0 points and 12.3 assists in playing all three games since.

Jordan is in position to become the first player to lead the league in rebounds per game and shooting percentage in consecutive seasons since Wilt Chamberlain from 1971-73.

Jordan's 70.9 shooting percent is second best in league history behind Chamberlain's 72.7 in 1972-73. He needs to make his next 35 shots to break Chamberlain's mark.

The Nuggets (30-50) closed out their home schedule with Sunday's 122-111 win over Sacramento. Kenneth Faried scored 30 and made 12 of 14 shots while Wilson Chandler added 21.

Denver improved to 10-11 since interim coach Melvin Hunt replaced Brian Shaw on March 3.

''I feel like we're back to the old Nuggets and it's exciting,'' Faried said. ''I hope they hire him and I hope he's our head coach next year.''


More NBA