It almost seemed too bad that it had to end. The
1. The short wait begins for playoff clarity.
The Clippers know they will be seeded No. 2 or No. 3 in the Western Conference when the playoffs begin this weekend. They also know they will be playing at home. Everything else remains in flux.
There are still four possible first-round opponents. If San Antonio and Houston both lose in their regular-season finales Wednesday night, the Clippers would be the second seed. If either the
2. Blake Griffin and
The Clippers stars held an animated discussion on the court in the final seconds of the first half before Paul walked away. They both said it was over missed opportunities that could have helped increase an already sizable lead.
Their coach viewed it as a sign of two high-level players seeking perfection. "I don't mind at all," Rivers said. "I hate when stuff goes unsaid. They were upset at one of the plays; Blake was more upset with himself. It's nice. We're up huge and they're mad at a miscommunicated play. I kind of like that. I would say a year ago if anyone got upset at a play or something, no one talked to each other. This group has really grown. That's where I keep saying we're just so much better and that gives you a chance, it really does. And in the West, all you can ask for is a chance because everybody has a chance."
3. The Clippers' bench that helped giveth their team a big lead also helped taketh it away.
The same group that helped the Clippers outscore the Suns, 37-17, in the second quarter also helped squander most of a 30-point lead in the second half, forcing Rivers to reinsert his starters in the final three minutes.
There was some offensive production supplied by unexpected sources, however.
4. The Clippers have won at least 56 games for a third consecutive season.
It may seem difficult to consider that "sustained excellence" and "Clippers" belong in the same sentence these days, but they certainly do. The Clippers (56-26) are headed to the playoffs for a franchise-record fourth consecutive season after finishing one victory short of the franchise record they had established last season.
5. Now the real season begins.