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NBA -- Griffin soars, Clippers stay at No.4 seed


PhilBoxing.com




LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Minnesota Timberwoves Wednesday night at the Staples Center, a 111-95 triumph that solidified the Clippers' chances of having homecourt advantage in the opening round of the NBA playoffs that begin on April 20.

With an improved 52-26 record, the Pacific Division champion Clippers are ranked No.4 in the Western Conference Division, one game ahead of the No.5 Memphis Grizzlies (53-25) and two games behind the No.3 Denver Nuggets (54-24). If the rankings stay the same when the regular season ends of April 17, the Clippers wrestle with the Grizzlies in a seven-game series.

"You want to be playing your best basketball down the stretch. I think we've really made it a point last seven or so games to play with a lot of energy, to play with a lot of pace and try to get on track," Los Angeles Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro told NBA.com.

Blake Griffin guided Los Angeles to win No.52. Making nine of 13 field goals, the high-leaping power forward tallied 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Point guard Chris Paul dazzled with 19 and 11 assists while Matt Barnes added 14. Jamal Crawford finished with 11 off the bench.

Already eliminated from the playoffs, the 29-49 Minesota Timberwolves fought a good fight, but they couldn't overcome shooting just 35 of 90 from the field and just six of 23 from 3-point range.

Nekola Pekovic paced Minnesota with 20 points while Derrick Williams had 13. J.J. Barea chipped 12. (RM)


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