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Clippers' game at Atlanta could have playoff implications

The Clippers need to win one of their last two regular-season games to get home-court advantage in the first round. The Hawks need a better record than Boston to open at home.

April 23, 2012|By Broderick Turner

ATLANTA — It will be a meaningful game for the Clippers and Atlanta Hawks, a game at Philips Arena on Tuesday night that could help determine both teams' playoff fates.

If the Clippers win either of their last two regular-season games — the other is Wednesday night at New York — they will have home-court advantage in a first-round Western Conference playoff series.

"We've got to win one more to lock up home court," said point guard Chris Paul. "So it's a big game for us in Atlanta."

Meanwhile, the Hawks have a one-game lead over the Boston Celtics — the two teams will face each other in the first round — but Atlanta will have home court to open the playoffs if it finishes with a better regular-season record.

It's looking more probable that the Clippers will face the fifth-place Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. The Clippers won the season series, 2-1, and would win the tiebreaker if the teams finished with the same record.

Getting home court over the Grizzlies would be huge for the Clippers, who remain half a game behind the third-place Lakers.

"I think it's going to be a great game against the Hawks," said guard Randy Foye. "We just know that we've got to go out there and do what we do best — play good defense and rebound. If we do that and keep our turnovers down, we're going to be in every ballgame."

Flopping for fouls?

New Orleans Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez was called for a flagrant-two foul against Clippers forward Reggie Evans in the fourth quarter of Sunday night's game. The play brought up an interesting question for Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro.

After the officials looked at the replays, they changed it to a foul on Vasquez, telling Del Negro it "was flopping, acting" by Evans.

Del Negro was asked after the game whether he was concerned that his team is becoming known for its flopping around the NBA.

"I wish we would flop a lot," Del Negro responded. "Maybe we would get some charges. I don't know anybody on our team that flops. It's all around the league, but I wouldn't say our team is a flopping team at all. Maybe one or two guys. If we get the call, I like it."


Blake Griffin, who took pain medication to deal with his stiff neck, said he's improving… Caron Butler, who suffered a bruised left hip that forced him out of the Hornets game after the first quarter, and Nick Young, who missed Sunday's game because of the flu, traveled to Atlanta and are listed as probable.

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