Sports

Clippers try to figure out potential playoff opponent

HOUSTON — Even as the Clippers try to prepare for the playoffs that they will be in for the third consecutive season, it's not an easy task.

It's a difficult challenge for the Clippers because of the uncertainly of whom they might face in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

The Clippers, who have eight regular-season games left, could play any of four teams in the West because of all the jockeying that's still going on for playoff positions.

Because things are so fluid, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he now looks at the West standings more than he did in the past.

"I look now because I'm trying to figure out where to send our scouts," Rivers said. "But I don't look necessarily to figure out where we're playing or who is doing what. I think it's fun right now to watch games."

If the playoffs started today, the third-seeded Clippers would face the sixth-seeded Golden State Warriors.

But with about 21/2 weeks left before the regular season is over, a lot could change in the playoff races.

"We just met with our scouts on where to send people," Rivers said. "We send them all over the place because there are three or four teams we could literally play in the first round."

Danny Granger returns to L.A.

Clippers forward Danny Granger was sent back to Los Angeles and he will not play on the rest of the three-game trip because of a strained left hamstring.

Granger was injured during the fourth quarter of the Clippers' game against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.

In 12 games with the Clippers, Granger was averaging 8.0 points in 16.2 minutes per game.

He was shooting 42.9% from the field, 35.3% from three-point range.

J.J. Redick update

J.J. Redick was back at the Clippers' shoot-around Saturday, but he still missed his 23rd consecutive game because of a bulging disk in his back and he remains out indefinitely.

The 6-foot-4 shooting guard has been with the Clippers on their five-game trip that was in Houston on Saturday night and continues on to Minneapolis on Monday and finishes at Phoenix on Wednesday night.

"I don't think he's playing on the trip," Rivers said. "I've said that every game on the trip. But that doesn't mean he may not, so you can keep asking."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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