NBA: Blake Griffin scored 24 points while picking up his 16th technical, and the Los Angeles Clippers led all the way in beating the visiting Denver Nuggets 117-105 on Tuesday night for their franchise-record 57th victory of the season.
Chris Paul had 21 points and 10 assists, and J.J. 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.
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.
Los Angeles will have to get by without Griffin on the road since his 16th tech triggered a league-mandated one-game suspension.
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 Mozgov and hit him in the head. Griffin pleaded his case with the referees to no avail. Unless the league rescinds the tech, he’ll sit out.
• Knicks win series with Nets: Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points and the New York Knicks, playing without the injured Carmelo Anthony, beat the Brooklyn Nets 109-98 to win the season series between city rivals.
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 J.R. Smith each added 14 points.
Anthony had an MRI exam Tuesday that revealed a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He won’t play tonight against Toronto, the final game of the first season in his 11-year career that won’t end with a playoff berth — and potentially his last as a member of the Knicks. He has said he will become a free agent in July.
Marcus Thornton scored 24 points for the Nets, who weren’t sharp despite playing starters Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. The other starter, Shaun Livingston, remained sidelined with a sprained right big toe.
The Nets still have a magic number of one for finishing fifth. But they could fall to No. 6 if they lose tonight in Cleveland and Washington beats Boston.
• Deng honored for community service: Cavaliers forward Luol Deng has won the J. Walter Kennedy Award, given annually to an NBA player for community service. Deng has had a long commitment to philanthropic work in his native South Sudan. His recent public service announcement for EnoughProject.org urges peace in his homeland. Deng also established a charitable foundation in Britain, which granted his family political asylum.
Players file concussion lawsuit
NHL: Another group of former NHL players has filed a federal class action lawsuit alleging that the league has downplayed the risk of head injuries, while at the same time promoting fighting and violence in the game.
The lawsuit was filed in Minneapolis. Retired players Dave Christian, Reed Larson and William Bennett are the named plaintiffs leading the suit. It alleges that the NHL put its players “at a substantially higher risk” for developing memory loss, depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The lawsuit, which is similar to one brought by former football players against the NFL, joins others filed by hockey players in Washington and New York and seeks monetary damages and increased medical monitoring.
• Florida lands top pick: The Florida Panthers bucked the odds by jumping up a spot to win the NHL draft lottery and earn the right to the top pick in June.
The Panthers, who finished 29th in the league, vaulted ahead of the last-place Buffalo Sabres, who had the best odds of winning the lottery held in Toronto.
Florida will have the first pick for the fourth time in franchise history.
The top two projected prospects are left wing Samuel Bennett, of OHL Kingston, who finished first in the final rankings released by NHL Central Scouting last week, and OHL Barrie defenseman Aaron Ekblad.
The draft will be held in Philadelphia on June 27-28.
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