Five takeaways from the Clippers' 94-86 win over the Grizzlies

Clippers' win over Grizzlies shows the team is playing with confidence as playoffs approach

Here are five takeaways from the Clippers' 94-86 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday evening at Staples Center.

1. The Clippers are in a three-way tie for second in West

After Saturday's win, the Clippers are in a three-way tie with the Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs for second place in the Western Conference. The Clippers could end up anywhere from second place to sixth place in the West in a crazy playoff race. The second-place teams are only a half-game ahead of the sixth-place Houston Rockets. The Clippers only have two games remaining in the regular season, against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on Monday and at Phoenix against the Suns on Tuesday. The Golden State Warriors have the top seed locked down, and the Portland Trail Blazers are guaranteed a top-four seed by virtue of winning their division. Other than that, things are up in the air.

"We would like to be second," J.J. Redick said. "It would be nice to win that two-seed."

2. The Clippers are streaking

The Clippers have won five games in a row and 12 of their last 13, losing only to the Golden State Warriors over that stretch. With the playoffs around the corner, they picked a great time to start playing great basketball.

"We're playing our best at the right time," Redick said, adding, "We feel like we can beat anybody."

3. The chippiness continues

It's always a chippy game when the Clippers play the Grizzlies, given their postseason history. The Clippers beat the Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs in 2012, then the Grizzlies eliminated the Clippers in the first round in 2013. 

Blake Griffin and Kosta Koufos got into a bit of a skirmish in the third quarter on Saturday after Koufos pulled Griffin to the floor. Griffin landed on his back on top of Koufos, who landed on the floor on his back. Koufos then pushed Griffin off of him, and Griffin immediately turned around and grabbed Koufos' jersey. Both players were assessed technical fouls on the play.

Said Griffin: "It felt like I got pushed."

4. The Grizzlies were shorthanded

The Grizzlies were playing without point guard Mike Conley (sore foot) and shooting guard/small forward Tony Allen (hamstring) -- and Marc Gasol played only 10 minutes after getting an ankle retaped. Yet the game came down to final minutes. 

"It's a whole lot different tonight," Chris Paul said. "Tony wasn't there, Mike wasn't there, Gasol wasn't there in the second half. That's not the team that will be there in the playoffs."

5. The stars don't want a break

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said Paul and Griffin could sit out the last two games if they want some rest.

They don't.

Paul has not missed a game this season, and is on his way to playing in all 82 games for the first time in his career.

Said Paul: "I'm cool, I'll rest [Sunday]."

Griffin recently came back after missing 15 games because of a staph infection in his right elbow that required surgery.

"... I got 15 games off, so I'm good to go," he said.

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