Tonight in the NBA: Nuggets try to stave off elimination

Tonight in the NBA: Nuggets try to stave off elimination
April 30, 2013, 2:15 pm
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We continue our player evaluations with Evan Turner, who played this year like someone trying to prove he deserved to be a former No. 2 pick (see story).

Now, here's a look at tonight's NBA playoff action:

Warriors at Nuggets, 8 p.m. (Golden State leads series 3-1)
DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets left behind a hole in the wall just inside the visiting locker room at Oracle Arena, courtesy of frustrated forward Kenneth Faried's size 16 sneaker.

Escaping the hole they're in against the Golden State Warriors won't be so easy.

The sixth-seeded Warriors have won three straight games since losing All-Star David Lee, the league's leader in double-doubles, to a season-ending hip injury in the series opener.

They're one win away from closing out George Karl's third-seeded band of speedsters who rolled into the playoffs on a 23-3 run and an NBA franchise-best 57-win season that included 23 straight home wins.

Denver, which is facing the prospect of getting bounced from the first round for the ninth time in 10 years, had designs on a deep playoff run like they had in 2008-09 but have been outsmarted, outhustled, outshot and outrebounded this entire series.

Only Andre Miller's twisting layup with a second left in Game 1 stands between the Nuggets and a four-game sweep. Golden State coach Mark Jackson surprised Karl with what was essentially a four-guard starting lineup for Game 2 and the Warriors haven't missed Lee - or many shots, for that matter - ever since (see full preview).

--The Associated Press

Grizzlies at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (Series tied 2-2)
LOS ANGELES -- Now that they've had a couple of days to digest those back-to-back losses the suddenly rejuvenated Grizzlies shoved down their throats in Memphis, the Clippers are back home and eager to swing the momentum back in their favor in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series.

"Tomorrow's the biggest game of the season for us. We've got to win this game," All-Star point guard Chris Paul said Monday at the team's Playa Vista practice facility.

"We hoped to go undefeated throughout this whole thing, but this definitely makes us stronger. Now it's a three-game series. So we've got to come out with more energy, obviously, and with the same intensity in Game 5 as we did in Game 1 and 2. We've got to fight and scratch and play the way we know we can."

That will require a dramatic reversal by the Clippers, who were outplayed at both ends of the court by Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Co. during Games 3 and 4. The 21-point rout on Saturday that evened the series at two games apiece represented the most lopsided postseason victory in the history of the Grizzlies franchise.

But the Clippers don't feel the Grizzlies have gotten under their skin and into their heads. All they have to do is remind themselves of last season, when they beat the Grizzlies in the opening round with a Game 7 triumph at Memphis (see full preview).

--The Associated Press

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