LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Clippers ended their regular season home schedule Tuesday night beating the Denver Nuggets, 117-105, in front of the usual sellout crowd at Staples Center running that streak to 135 straight.
The win was the club’s 57th setting a new franchise record for wins in a season with one more game Wednesday night in Portland in the season finale against the Trail Blazers.
“We were part of that last year, at least Blake and I were, and we lost in the first round.” Said guard Chris Paul who finished with a double-double pouring in 21points and dishing out 10 assists. “We’re at the point at the point now that it’s all about the post season.”
“It’s nice. I’m very happy we’re doing that stuff.” Said head coach Doc Rivers who sat out all of his starters in the 4th quarter. “That’s not what we want. To get what you want sometimes you get other stuff I guess is the best way to say it.”
The Clippers want a championship. Winning the Pacific Division and setting a new franchise record for wins are all part of the journey to a championship.
The next leg of that journey – the playoffs – begins sometime this coming weekend, either Saturday or Sunday at Staples Center. It all depends where the Clippers finish in the Western Conference.
L.A. currently sits in the third seed and a first round match-up with arch rival and sixth seed Golden State.
There’s an outside chance the Clippers could claim the second seed should they beat Portland and Oklahoma City – currently seeded second – loses to Detroit in its season finale which is a possibility should Thunder head coach Scott Brooks sit Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the rest of his starters against the Pistons.
The Clippers really have no control over what happens in Oklahoma City Wednesday night. All they can do is play and beat Portland. Whatever happens in OKC happens.
Rivers has decided to do something similar with a couple of his starters.
He’s keeping all-star power forward Blake Griffin, who led all scorers with 24 points, and shooting guard J.J. Redick (18 points on 4-of-10 from the 3-point arc) in Los Angeles instead of heading up to Portland for the regular season finale.
Both are nursing ailing backs.
“I want Blake to stay home and get some rest. He’s so banged up. Then the only guy I know for sure will be J.J.” Said Rivers.
Griffin wants to play but might have no choice in the matter. He got his 16th technical foul of the season in the second quarter which garners an automatic suspension for the next game – in this case tomorrow night’s finale.
Trying to make a play to swipe the ball up high from Denver’s Timofy Mozgov, Griffin hit him in the head getting the tech.
“I honestly think it’ll be rescinded.” Said Griffin after the game. “It was one of those continuation plays. I make a play on the ball hitting it first and the ref gives me a tech for that. I don’t think it’ll stand.”
If the call isn’t rescinded, Griffin’s out anyway because Rivers is sitting him out for tomorrow’s game in Portland.
Center DeAndre Jordan, who will play limited minutes in Portland, finished with another double-double knocking down 13 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.
Chris Paul will play some minutes against the Blazers in the finale which tips-off tomorrow night at 7:30 from the Rose Garden.