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Clippers clinch playoff spot with a 105-90 victory over the Denver Nuggets

Clippers clinch playoff spot with a 105-90 victory over the Denver Nuggets
Clippers guard Jamal Crawford tries to pass as Nuggets guard Gary Harris, left, and center Jusuf Nurkic defend during a game at Staples Center on March 27. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Clippers were facing another undermanned team, a scenario that recently had left them coming up short.

Not this time.

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The Clippers dominated the Denver Nuggets for much of a 105-90 victory Sunday afternoon at Staples Center that clinched a playoff spot.

DeAndre Jordan had 16 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks for the Clippers (45-27), who drained any remaining drama by outscoring the Nuggets, 25-12, in the third quarter.

None of the Clippers starters played in the fourth quarter, depriving Chris Paul of a chance at a triple-double after he compiled 14 points, nine assists and six rebounds over the first three quarters.

Jamal Crawford (14 points), Wesley Johnson (13) and Jeff Green (13) were strong off the bench for the Clippers, with Green continually attacking the baskets for dunks and layups and Johnson breaking out of his slump by making five of six shots.

The Clippers got a boost before the game when the team announced Blake Griffin was starting his four-game suspension for punching a team assistant equipment manager, putting the star forward on track to return April 3 against the Washington Wizards.

Jordan continued to capably man the interior in Griffin's absence, showing dual excellence during one sequence in which he blocked a shot and finished the Clippers' resulting possession by taking a Paul lob for a dunk.

Denver was playing without forwards Kenneth Faried (back) and Danilo Gallinari (ankle), stirring reminders of the Clippers' recent losses against short-handed Memphis and New Orleans.

They avoided a similar fate Sunday even though Jusuf Nurkic scored 19 points and D.J. Augustin added 18 off the bench for the Nuggets.

Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch

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