Securing one of the eight playoff seeds in the uber-tough Western Conference will be challenging for the Clippers.
Coach Doc Rivers keeps reminding his team that’s how it should be. He wants his group to earn a postseason berth and not be afraid of what it will take to accomplish it.
“It shouldn’t be easy,” Rivers said late Wednesday night after the Clippers lost a tough game against the Utah Jazz. “The one thing I keep telling our guys: If you want to get something that you really wanted and you want it easy, then you’re in the wrong business. It should be hard.
“We should embrace it and we should just love it. It’s part of the grind. I don’t think our guys want easy. They know it’s supposed to be hard and I think they are going to go after it.”
The Clippers are holding down the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
Though the Clippers have an identical record as the Spurs at 34-29, San Antonio is seventh because it owns the tiebreaker of having a better conference record — 24-19 compared to L.A.’s 22-20. The first tiebreaker, head-to-head play, left the Clippers and Spurs tied.
Right behind the Clippers are the surprising Sacramento Kings (31-30), two games behind in ninth. The Lakers (30-31) are 10th.
The Clippers will face the Kings on Friday night knowing the challenge that awaits.
“Again, another playoff game,” Patrick Beverley said late Wednesday night. “I think this stretch from here until the end of the season is going to be an important stretch. Every game is going to be like the playoffs, but that’s what we want. It’s a good test for us. It’s a good test for our young guys to get ready to see how the playoffs are going to be. We’re not backing down to anybody.”
The Clippers flew from Salt Lake City after a 111-105 loss to the Jazz and arrived in Sacramento early Thursday morning.
They rested their bodies and minds instead of holding practice Thursday and will have a shootaround Friday to start their preparation for the Kings.
“I’ll start worrying about that on Friday,” Lou Williams said. “It’s a game at a time, but there’s also rest. We’ve got a day in between. We got to do a good job of taking care of our bodies, sitting down. I like to clear my mind going into another one, and so I’ll start worrying about Sacramento on Friday morning.”
When: 7 p.m. Friday.
On Air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570, 1330.
Update: The Kings are tied for seventh in scoring (averaging 114 points per game) and ranked 27th in the league in points allowed (115.2). Sacramento’s backcourt of Buddy Hield (20.8 points per game) and De’Aaron Fox (17.3) are ranked first and second, respectively, in scoring on the team. … Kings rookie big man Marvin Bagley III won’t play because he sprained his left knee during Wednesday night’s game against Milwaukee.