The Los Angeles Clippers are making a late dash at homecourt advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs and look to move closer to landing it when they visit the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday. The Clippers are averaging 121 points during a four-game winning streak and trail the fourth-seeded Utah Jazz by one game with three remaining.
Los Angeles is putting the heat on the Jazz – its likely playoff opponent – with power forward Blake Griffin leading the way with three consecutive games of more than 30 points. “He’s just been crazy aggressive, crazy efficient,” point guard Chris Paul told reporters of Griffin. “He’s just been our beast, that’s what we call him and stuff like that, so we are going to keep feeding him.” The Spurs are locked into the second seed in the West but finish the season against three teams who badly need victories – the Clippers, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Utah Jazz. “We are going to be playing some teams that are playing for seeding, so I think those teams are going to approach those games as a playoff game,” San Antonio center Pau Gasol told reporters. “We have to utilize those opportunities to meet that intensity and approach it the same way.”
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Check back later for line history.
Clippers – PG Austin Rivers (Mid April, hamstring), C Diamond Stone (Out Indefinitely, knee)
Spurs – SG Danny Green (Questionable, quadricep), SG Manu Ginobili (Questionable, quadricep), PG Dejounte Murray (Mid April, groin)
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Clippers (-6.7) – Spurs (-11.5) + home court (-3) = Spurs -7.8
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (48-31 SU, 37-41-1 ATS, 43-35-1 O/U): Griffin is finally back in top form after a knee injury forced him out of action for 18 games and compromised his production once he returned. He is 45-of-64 from the field while averaging 31.3 points over the past four games and his conditioning is back to his typical high level. “He’s mixing it up and scoring every way,” Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers told reporters. “He’s shooting, driving and passing. When he faces up and goes, it is either a bucket or a foul. He feels healthy enough to do that more.”
ABOUT THE SPURS (61-18 SU, 41-37-1 ATS, 41-36-2 O/U): Coach Gregg Popovich is trying to keep his players fresh for the playoffs and he held Gasol, All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard, power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and point guard Tony Parker out of Friday’s 102-89 road win over the Dallas Mavericks. “That was a lot of fun,” point guard Patty Mills told reporters after San Antonio won with eight available players, all whom are role players or end-of-the-bench types. “With the guys that we came with, that was kind of the key, just to go out, have fun, enjoy and play basketball.” The aforementioned foursome are all expected to see action against the Clippers after NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s recent threat to impose “significant penalties” on teams that rest healthy players during nationally televised contests.
* Clippers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Spurs are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 0 days rest.
* Under is 6-1 in Clippers last 7 games playing on 2 days rest.
* Under is 7-2 in Spurs last 9 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.
* Under is 7-3 in Spurs last 10 games playing on 0 days rest.
Check out a complete list of hot and cold trends, here.
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