NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, April 6th (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (25-51) at Los Angeles Clippers (54-23), 3:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Clippers can still improve their playoff positioning when they host the rival Lakers Sunday at Staples Center.
The Clippers are third in the Western Conference -- two games behind Oklahoma City and three ahead of Houston with five to play. After hosting the Lakers, the Clippers will welcome the Thunder to town Wednesday.
A four-game winning streak for the Clippers was halted with Thursday's 113-107 setback to the Dallas Mavericks, as Blake Griffin led three 20-point scorers with 25 points to go along with 11 assists and 10 rebounds. It was Griffin's fourth career triple-double and first this season.
Darren Collison followed Griffin with 22 points and DeAndre Jordan compiled 21 and grabbed 15 rebounds. Chris Paul had 17 points and nine assists for the Pacific Division-champion Clippers, who are still a dominant 17-3 in the past 20 games and opened a five-game homestand on a sour note.
Los Angeles will also host Sacramento, Denver and Portland, and has a 31-6 record as the host this season. It will end the regular season at Portland on April 16.
The Clippers lead the NBA with 107.7 points and have scored 100 or more in 18 of the last 20 games. In injury news, Griffin is probable for Sunday's game with back spasms and is averaging 24.0 points and 9.6 rebounds.
Meanwhile, the Lakers hope to avoid the worst season in the Los Angeles era and have six games remaining on the schedule. They went 31-19 during the condensed season of 1998-99.
The Lakers have lost three in a row and nine of their last 12 games, including Friday's 107-95 setback to the Mavericks, who posted the first season sweep of the Lakers in franchise history. Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points and Brandon Wright added 23 off the bench for the visitors.
Jodie Meeks led L.A. with 25 points and both Jordan Hill and Nick Young scored 14 points. Hill also grabbed 10 rebounds and Kent Bazemore netted 13 points for the Lakers, who shot 42 percent and were outrebounded 52-38.
Meeks has scored 20 or more points in three of his last four games.
The Lakers are winless in their last six road games and have an 11-27 record as the visitor. After serving as the visitor to the Clippers, the Lakers will play three in a row as the home team versus Houston, Golden State and Memphis.
Lakers center Pau Gasol (vertigo) has missed two straight and six of seven games, and is out Sunday. He is posting an average of 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds this season.
Lakers guards Steve Nash (back) is doubtful and Young (ankle) is probable.
The Clippers are 2-1 against the Lakers this season, including a 142-94 blowout on March 6. The 48-point margin of victory was the largest in franchise history. The Clippers have won six of the last seven games in this series and are 7-2 in the previous nine as the home team.
04/06 10:35:19 ET