Clippers clinch No. 4 playoff seed with 115-95 rout of Kings

Rachel Hardy
Апреля 16, 2017

The timing, however, was fitting.

Australian duo Joe Ingles and Dante Exum will have their first taste of the NBA Playoffs on the weekend when the Utah Jazz take on the Los Angeles Clippers in game one of their best-of-seven series.

The Los Angeles Clippers locked down home court advantage for their first round date with the Utah Jazz by beating the Sacramento Kings, 115-95, in their final home game of the regular season at Staples Center. "We've waited over a year for this".

It is no secret that the Clippers have fallen painfully short of that goal, sometimes in spectacular fashion.

The Clippers finished the regular season with a record of 51-31, an identical mark as the Jazz, but L.A. holds the tiebreaker by winning the season series with Utah 3-1. That the team would not surpass last season's win total and miss the playoffs for the 11th consecutive season was all but guaranteed when Cousins was dealt. All but one of the games was decided by double digits; the lone Jazz win came in Utah by six points. Sometimes you have to keep fighting for yourself. It's not something that we're like, 'Oh, poor us, ' like we're cursed and we've been through all this stuff.

Clippers starters Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick have played together since 2013-14.

They have come to grips with the fact that Griffin (left quadriceps tendon) and Chris Paul (broken right hand) both were sidelined in Game 4 of a first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers in 2016, leading to the Clippers' losing the series in six games. "It kind of reminds me of San Antonio", Paul said.

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Clippers coach Doc Rivers, for his part, tried to downplay the significance of meeting the Kings in the season finale. "It really is. It's awesome".

Two milestones were reached in the game as Doc Rivers became the all-time franchise leader in wins for a head coach with 216, and shooting guard J.J. Redick set the franchise record for most three-pointers in a single season with 201. In mid-March when the Clippers had dropped three straight and questions swirled about what plagued the team, as health was no longer a valid excuse, it would've been hard to imagine a more encouraging end to the season.

"A few weeks ago our spirit wasn't the same, our defensive intensity wasn't there, and it's nice to have all that back for the playoffs", said Paul".

"My guys were down after the game, they weren't happy with it, but they moved past it". "They are both dominant defensively, and they both cause havoc offensively that you don't see with rolls to the basket", Rivers said.

Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich also pulled his starters in the final quarter with the team maintaining their second seed in the west win or lose.

The top-seeded Warriors have beaten the Clippers in 10 straight regular-season games. "When it happens, you don't want it to happen again". "We have the best fans in the NBA, and we know it will be an energized and enthusiastic crowd for the return of playoff basketball to Salt Lake City".

Paul, like the Clippers, has never gone past the second round of the playoffs.

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