LOS ANGELES – Blake Griffin won’t be playing in Portland, regardless of whether his 16th technical of the season is rescinded.
Griffin will stay home to rest, along with J.J. Redick, while the rest of the Los Angeles Clippers close out the regular season against the Trail Blazers.
They recorded their franchise-record 57th victory with a 117-105 win over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, when Griffin scored 24 points.
“I’m very happy that we’re doing this stuff, but it’s not what we want,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
Chris Paul had 21 points and 10 assists, and 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.
“It’s all good and well,” Paul said about the franchise records, “but it’s all about the postseason.”
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.
Griffin’s 16th tech triggered a league-mandated one-game suspension. But he said he thinks the league might rescind it.
“I honestly do,” he said. “It was one of those ones that was kind of a continuation. If I make a play on the ball and I hit the ball first, and he gives me a tech for that, I’m not sure if that’s going to stand up.”
Griffin was assessed the tech with 3:23 left in the second quarter. He swung his right arm around to try to get the ball from Timofey Mozgov and hit him in the head. Griffin pleaded his case with the referees to no avail.
Teammate Jared Dudley saw the play and was confident the call would be rescinded.
“He did hit ball, but he did follow through and hit his face,” Dudley said. “If it wasn’t an offensive foul, the ref said that he wouldn’t have called the technical; it would have been more of a flagrant.”
Kenneth Faried led the Nuggets with 21 points and Aaron Brooks added 19. Mozgov had 18 points and 11 rebounds as Denver’s three-game winning streak ended.
“Every time, it’s tough to play against the big guys like them,” Mozgov said about Griffin and Jordan. “They work under the basket so hard.”
Knicks 109, Nets 98
In New York, at least the Knicks can say they won a city championship.
Only the Brooklyn Nets have a chance to compete for a real one — though they’d better play a lot better than this.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points and the Knicks, playing without the injured Carmelo Anthony, beat the Nets to win the season series between the city rivals.
And in an otherwise massively disappointing season, apparently local bragging rights do matter.
“Hell yeah,” Knicks guard J.R. Smith said. “I mean, I’m cool with some of those guys over there, so I can still say something when we’re in the gym this summer. As long as I can say they didn’t beat us that many times, we’re good.”
Anthony had an MRI exam Tuesday that revealed a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
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 Smith each added 14 points.