The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Phoenix Suns 112-101, closing the season with seven consecutive wins and maintaining the option of finishing second in the West, although it’s not entirely up to them.
There are plenty of combinations left to sort through with the Spurs, Grizzlies and Rockets still having one game left. For the Clippers to finish second, the Rockets and Spurs must lose their final game of the season. The Grizzlies don’t matter because they can’t finish second anymore following the Clippers’ win, at best reaching a 55-27 record while the Clippers finish with a 56-26.
The Clippers didn’t need to feel tense about their final game of the season, heading into the fourth quarter with a 21 point lead. Chris Paul led them with 22 points, a nice way to celebrate his 82nd game of the season, the first time he’s completed an entire NBA season. It’s a good feeling. I don’t think I’ve ever not played on the last day of the season, so it’s cool that we got that solidified.
Doc Rivers seemed to think it’s a big deal as well: I think it meant a lot to Chris to prove to himself that he could do that. He’s put the work in with his body and he’s gotten the proper amount of rest.
Rivers also spoke about the up and coming postseason, his second playoffs run with the Clippers. Last season it ended in the conference semifinal, losing to the Thunder in six games, including a very controversial game 5. We are ready as we can be. We are healthy, we finished the season on a nice run, winning 14 of 15. That is all you can ask for but I know like everyone else knows, even though it ended that way, Game 1 is new. Now it starts all over again.
With the Win Rivers has now won 700 NBA games as a head coach. He began his career in 1999 with the Orlando Magic and was fired in 2003. He took over the Boston Celtics in 2004, winning an NBA championship in 2008 and leaving them via trade in 2013 to the Clippers.
Now all the Clippers have to do is wait for the Spurs and Rockets to play their games and only then will they know who their next rivals are. Obviously, teams don’t really want to play each other although finishing fifth, which means meeting the Blazers who are far from at their best, isn’t such a bad proposition.