Clippers set higher standard in win over Denver Nuggets

The Clippers have never won more games in a season. They've also never been better at home.

All of which may not mean much depending on how the next few months go.


There was no denying that the Clippers' 117-105 triumph over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night at Staples Center gave them franchise records of 57 victories and 34 home wins in the same season.

Of course, those aren't the ultimate goals for a team seeking to make it past the second round of the playoffs for the first time.

"We were a part of that last year, at least me and Blake [Griffin] were and we lost in the first round," Clippers guard Chris Paul said of setting a franchise record for victories. "So it's all good and well, but I think we're at a point now where it's all about the postseason. We expect to do what we did."

Paul had 21 points and 10 assists in only three quarters and Griffin shrugged off a potentially costly technical foul to score 24 points on nine-for-17 shooting in their team's final home game of the regular season.

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers was able to rest Paul, Griffin and J.J. Redick the entire fourth quarter after his team persevered through a sloppy stretch in which its 23-point lead was cut to five. The Clippers held on to top the 56 victories they accumulated last season and extend their franchise record for home victories, which they set Saturday against the Sacramento Kings.

Rivers said neither Griffin nor Redick would travel to Portland for the Clippers' final regular-season game Wednesday.

"I don't think either one of them need to get on a plane and go back to back," Rivers said.

The Clippers needed to beat the Nuggets to sustain any hopes of obtaining the No. 2 seeding in the Western Conference playoffs. For them to overtake the Oklahoma City Thunder for that spot, the Clippers (57-24) would need to beat the Portland Trail Blazers in their regular-season finale Wednesday and have the Thunder (58-23) lose to the Detroit Pistons.

While that scenario would give the Clippers and Thunder identical records, the Clippers would win the tiebreaker by virtue of having a better record against conference opponents. The teams each won two games in their head-to-head meetings this season.

Rivers said he was more focused on keeping players healthy than moving up in the conference standings. His team will have homecourt advantage in the first round either way.

Aaron Brooks had 19 points for the Nuggets, who were missing regular starters Ty Lawson (ankle), J.J. Hickson (knee), Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (leg).

The night started with Redick holding a microphone and thanking fans for their support. Then the Clippers expressed their gratitude on the court, scoring the game's first 13 points and leading by as many as 18 points in the first quarter.

Not everything was perfect for the Clippers.


DeAndre Jordan missed seven of eight free throws and Griffin picked up his 16th technical foul of the season late in the second quarter after he smacked Denver's Timofey Mozgov on the head while trying to defend a drive to the basket.

Griffin won't play regardless of whether the NBA rescinds the technical, which is always a possibility considering the league has removed three from his ledger already this season. Griffin said he was going for the ball when he hit Mozgov on his follow-through and expected the technical to be rescinded.

As for his travel plans, Griffin sounded unsure.

"That's what I heard, yeah," Grififn said of staying home, "but I still might go, I guess."

Twitter: @latbbolch