Clippers-Knicks Preview

The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Clippers can't win the Pacific Division, but they can still earn home-court advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Having already secured a playoff berth, the New York Knicks have a chance to better their position in the East.

The Clippers end the regular season looking to avoid a third straight road loss Wednesday night against the Knicks.

Los Angeles' chances of claiming its first division title ended Tuesday with a 109-102 loss at Atlanta. The Clippers (40-25) could still finish with the same record as the rival Lakers, who own the tiebreaker between the teams.

The Clippers need only to win this contest or Memphis to lose at home to Orlando on Thursday to secure the fourth seed and home-court in the first round. Los Angeles and the Grizzlies currently have the same record, but the Clippers hold the tiebreaker.

Los Angeles would also like to regain some momentum after Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were the only Clippers to score in double figures Tuesday, with 36 and 34 points, respectively.

"We've got to use (Wednesday's game) as a huge barometer as far as what it's going to be like in the playoffs," Paul said.

Coming off a season-high scoring night Tuesday, Griffin has totaled 65 points and 21 rebounds in two career games against the Knicks.

Paul has combined for 67 points in his last two games overall. He averaged 25.6 on 53.1 percent shooting in five games at Madison Square Garden before he was held to four on 2-of-7 shooting last season while with New Orleans.

Currently seventh in the East, New York (34-30) won't have home-court to begin the playoffs but could move up to the sixth seed if it wins its final two games and the Magic lose their last two.

Regardless of where the Knicks finish, reaching the playoffs is an impressive accomplishment during a season in which coach Mike D'Antoni resigned and they overcame injuries to Amare Stoudemire and budding star Jeremy Lin.

The team's overall success helped earn Glen Grunwald a promotion to executive vice president and general manager Tuesday.

"Glen has done a terrific job this season,'' said Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan of Grunwald, who had been serving in the same role on an interim basis since July. "We look forward to him continuing in the role of general manager for many years to come.''

The Knicks return home after concluding a 2-1 trip with a 113-112 win at Atlanta on Sunday. Carmelo Anthony had 39 points and 10 rebounds while Stoudemire added 22 points with 12 boards as New York shot 54.4 percent to improve to 16-6 since Mike Woodson replaced D'Antoni.

Anthony appears primed for the postseason, averaging 32.2 points in his last five games.

"Right now he is at the peak of his game," teammate J.R. Smith told the Knicks' official website. "Nobody is even coming close to matching his play on the other end, so that's what we need from him right now. As a leader of this team, I think he took on himself to respond well."

Anthony has averaged 29.3 points on 50.4 percent shooting in his last six games against the Clippers.

Los Angeles won the most recent meeting between the teams, 116-108 on Feb. 9, 2011, at MSG.

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