The Los Angeles Clippers are healthy and playing the right kind of basketball just before the playoffs begin, beating the Denver Nuggets 110-103 with another impressive performance from the entire starting lineup, still trying to finish second in the West.
All the starting lineup scoring in double figures, including 22 from Blake Griffin (with 9 rebounds and 8 assists), 20 from DeAndre Jordan (to go with 21 rebounds and 4 blocks) and 20 as well for J.J. Redick. Chris Paul scored 17 points, dishing out 9 assists (and grabbing 7 rebounds) while Matt Barnes scored 11 points. With such a performance from the starters, they didn’t need any kind of significant help from anyone coming off the bench; not even Jamal Crawford.
The win puts the Clippers level with the Rockets and Spurs (55-26. Right now they’re third in the West which if the season ended today means they play the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the postseason. Thinking about who fits who will just cause you a headache. Except for the Pelicans, Thunder and maybe the Mavericks, there are no favorable teams to face in the first round of the playoffs.
There’s nobody that’s not good in the West. You’re going to have a tough series. The teams that embrace that are going to do well and the ones that don’t are going to be out early.
Chris Paul is one game away from completing 82 games in a season for the first time in his career, something he feels is quite an accomplishment. It was Paul’s ability during Griffin’s injury that kept the Clippers on par with the rest of the Western conference. He might be excluded from the MVP discussions for some reason, but he deserves to be mentioned and even get a number of votes.