The Los Angeles Clippers will try to keep the pressure on their Staples Center co-tenants, the Lakers, when they host the sinking Golden State Warriors this afternoon.
The Clippers, who are 1 1/2 games back of the playoff-bound Lakers for both the Pacific Division lead as well as the third seed in the Western Conference with seven games to play, are coming off a solid 95-82 win in Minnesota on Thursday.
Blake Griffin scored 19 points, snatched 13 rebounds and dished out five assists in that one as the Clips pulled away in the second half to defeat the Kevin Love-less Timberwolves.
Caron Butler added 17 points, while Mo Williams provided 14 points off the bench in his return to the lineup after missing 11 games with a toe injury for the Clippers, who have won four of their last five games. Chris Paul had eight points and eight assists.
"Our two starting bigs (Griffin and DeAndre Jordan) did a good job in the second half focusing on the defensive end, which got us out into the open floor to get some easy baskets," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said.
LA is 1 1/2 games ahead of Memphis, which is seeded fifth in the West, and has won 10 of its last 12 games. The Clips haven't reached the playoffs since the 2005-06 campaign.
The Warriors, meanwhile, have dropped three straight and 10 of 12 after a 112-103 setback to Dallas in Oakland on Thursday.
David Lee led all scorers with 30 points to go along with eight rebounds and impressive rookie Klay Thompson added 24 points with eight assists and seven rebounds for Golden State.
"The way we played in the second half was what we expect closing out this season," said Warriors head coach Mark Jackson. "We battled, gave ourselves a chance. We had some breakdowns, but the energy and effort was certainly there."
Lee is out indefinitely with a groin injury and Richard Jefferson is expected to miss tonight's game due to a swollen knee. The Warriors may struggle inside against Griffin with Lee absent.
Golden State has already topped the Clippers in two of three meetings this season, including a 97-93 win in LA on March 11.