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Clippers move closer to home court advantage in first round of playoffs with win over Grizzlies

Apr 13, 2013, 11:27 PM EDT

Blake Griffin, Marc Gasol

The Clippers got a huge win in terms of their possible playoff position on Saturday, by rolling into Memphis and taking down the Grizzlies 91-87.

The victory puts L.A. in the driver’s seat for home court advantage in a potential first round matchup against these same Grizzlies, and gives the team a chance of moving up to the three spot in the West should it win the remaining three games on the schedule.

The game was tight throughout, and came down to the final few possessions.

Memphis led by five with 9:32 to play, but the Clippers put together a 14-0 run over the next three and a half minutes to go up by nine. The Grizzlies battled back to within two, and had possession with 18 seconds remaining. Mike Conley tried a floater over DeAndre Jordan that was blocked, but Memphis retained possession.

An inbounds pass attempt by Conley to Zach Randolph with five seconds left was broken up by Blake Griffin, who then leaked out on the break and was fouled by Jerryd Bayless. It was ruled a clear path foul, so even though Griffin missed both free throws, the Clippers retained possession and Jamal Crawford hit the two free throws that gave us the game’s final margin.

Caron Butler sat out the second half with a sore knee, which allowed Grant Hill to see his first action since March 30. Hill made two big buckets and came through with a couple of blocked shots in his 11 minutes of action, and 10 of those came in the fourth quarter. A healthy Grant Hill — the version we saw a glimpse of in this one — would be a huge boost to the Clippers’ depth in the playoffs.

On the Memphis side, the same issues the team has struggled with all season long became a problem once again in the fourth quarter, when the Grizzlies managed just 14 points. The lack of a legitimate and consistent offensive threat remains a problem, and one that I’m not sure ever gets solved with this current roster, and definitely not in time to win a playoff series.

The Clippers are in a strong position to remain the four seed entering the playoffs, but they also have a chance of moving into the three spot should the Nuggets lose one of their remaining three games. It isn’t likely, however, considering that Denver is 20-3 in its last 23 games, and ends the season by hosting Portland, playing at Milwaukee, and then hosting the Suns.

It’s more than likely we’ll see the Clippers and the Grizzlies in a rematch of their epic playoff battle from a season ago. L.A. won a Game 7 in Memphis to close the Grizzlies out last year, but this time around, the Clippers are in line to have the home court advantage.

  1. broncobeta - Apr 13, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    Nuggets fans sigh a breath of relief.

    Basketball fans fist pump at the high probability of the Grizz-Clippers playoff series. If it’s anything like last year, then it won’t disappoint.

  2. 5280nuggs - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    Clippers only have 2 games remaining. A little research before publishing this would be appreciated so you’re not misinforming people. With the Clippers at 54-26 the most wins they could achieve is 56.

    On the other hand the Nuggets are 54-25 with 3 games remaining and if they win out they would achieve 57 wins, and thus finish 3rd. If they finished tied with Clippers they would still remain in the third seed because they hold the tiebreaker. The Clippers will finish no lower than fourth because they are division winners but if they don’t have a better record than the Grizzlies they won’t get homecourt advantage regardless of their fourth seed (I belive, I’m not 100% on this part).

  3. jimsjam33 - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    A Nugget vs. Griz matchup would be preferred . The Nugs just need to cooperate and drop the back to back away game with the sad sack Milwaukee Bucks . Clippers vs. Warriors would be a better matchup for California fans . We’ll see .

  4. 5280nuggs - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    Nuggs want that three seed. They’re not going away without a vicious fight.

  5. skv7 - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    For the 3rd spot in the playoffs, the Nugget’s magic number is two. Two wins in the next three by the nuggets against Portland and Phoenix at home and Milwaukee on the road would clinch. That is assuming either LAC/Memphis win out.

    Nuggets have the tiebreaker 3-1 against both LAC/Memphis.

  6. elcapitanfiscal - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:09 AM

    The western playoffs are so much more exciting the the east..we all know the heat will probably sweep their way to the finals..

    In the west theres 3 maybe 4 teams with a shot..still, heat will win it all so what’s the point

  7. skv7 - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    Nugget’s magic number is two, either wins against PORTLAND, Milwaukee, or PHOENIX, or losses by LAC/Mem.

    Nuggets have the tiebreaker, 3 wins to 1 loss, against both Memphis and LAC.

  8. cornbreadbbqred - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:23 AM

    The Nuggets are going to clean the Clippers clocks when the time comes in the playoffs!

  9. mat9844 - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    Clippers Represent ~ the hopes and dreams of all their fans. We believe.

  10. jerdogthompson - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    By summarily dismissing the Clippers in a match up against the Nuggets is foolish. Last I checked gallinari has a torn ACL/MCL and Ty is struggling with plantar fasciitis. They too will be in the same situation late in games as the grizzlies. No go to person. They struggled in two games at full strength against the Clippers. Don’t see them posing any threat to this team.

  11. dannymac17 - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Bledsoe ballin again.

  12. dannymac17 - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Clippers baby!

    Lakers fans are more than welcome on this bandwagon

  13. fearthehoody - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Clipper Nation……Risen

  14. 5280nuggs - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Nuggets will finish in third so they won’t even be facing the clippers.

  15. jerdogthompson - Apr 14, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    I wouldn’t make that Nuggets will finish 3rd statement so quickly. Clippers can take that spot just as easily.

  16. badintent - Apr 14, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Will Karl go Hack a Blake or Jordon in the fourth quarter ?? Hummmmmm…………………..?

  17. 5280nuggs - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:34 AM

    You really think the Nuggets will loose to a Bucks team without Jennings or Sanders or Phoenix? Because if you do, you don’t know much about the Nuggets desire to secure that three seed and cruise past the Rockets.

  18. 5280nuggs - Apr 15, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    And struggling against the Clippers in 2 of the games is inaccurate. Last I checked the Nuggets are 3-1 against them. And by summarily saying the Nuggs will struggle without Gallo and Ty, and with that no go to guy garbage shows you don’t know about this team. Ty is back to form if you haven’t noticed after his performance today, and Fournier and Iggy have stepped in just fine in Gallos absence. Oh and this is an actual TEAM, that realizes they are better as unit than any one individual taking over. So for the Clippers sake you should hope you guys draw the Grizzlies as a fourth seed haha

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