It looks like Memphis will host the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs. The people who work at the Staples Center will be happy about that. They won’t have the swap the Lakers floor for the Clippers floor as often now. Unless a depleted Orlando Magic team with no incentive can go to Memphis on Thursday and win, the Clippers will be on the road for Game One against the Grizzlies. Orlando clinched the sixth seed with their win over Charlotte on Wednesday.
The Knicks remained in the hunt for the seventh spot by beating the Clippers, but they don’t seem too concerned about it. They rested Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudamire for most of the fourth quarter, even while nearly squandering an 18 point lead in the 99-93 win. When it’s a choice between Miami or Chicago, it’s not that big of a deal anyway.
”Right now it really doesn’t matter,” Anthony said. ”Whoever we play, we’ll have to start on the road anyway, so we just want to start just preparing for whether it’s Chicago, whether it’s Miami, just get ready to go.”
The Knicks will play Charlotte on Thursday while the Philadelphia 76ers will play at Detroit. If the Knicks win or the Sixers lose, the Knicks will play Miami. If neither one happens, then they get Chicago.
”Chicago has had the best record in the league the last two years, so why does everybody jump ahead and say, ‘Oh, you should dodge Miami and play Chicago?” center Tyson Chandler said. ”I think both of those teams are 1 and 2, so you can pick your poison on them. I feel like we have to believe in ourselves enough that it doesn’t matter who we play.”
I’m guessing it’s probably because Miami is the defending Eastern Conference Champions and have three superstar players as opposed to Chicago who has one? But we get your point.
The Clippers were obviously more concerned with making sure Chris Paul is healthy for Memphis even if that means playing them on the road in a decisive Game Seven. They sat him out of the Knicks game with a slightly strained groin.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 29 points and Randy Foye had 28. J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 21 points.
”It’s tough because we controlled our own destiny for this last week, lost three out of our last four. It’s tough.” Paul said. ”We’ve still got a chance. I’m sure Memphis is going to come out hard and aggressive. I don’t know. Now we just got to sit and wait.”