The Clippers are viewing their last 26 regular-season games as a push toward the playoffs.
So when they play a sub-.500 team like the Denver Nuggets (22-35) Wednesday night at Staples Center, the Clippers say it won’t be hard to maintain their focus because of the overall goal.
The Clippers are the fourth seed in the Western Conference, which would give them the home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs if they keep that position.
But the Clippers also are just three games behind third-seeded Oklahoma City in the West.
“We’re trying to position ourselves to have home court in the first round, and possibly push up to the three seed. So I think the motivation is there regardless of who we play. The opponent really doesn’t matter.”
So, for example, if the Clippers are the third seed and win their first-round series, they would face the San Antonio Spurs in the second round and wouldn’t have to face the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors until the conference finals if Los Angeles advances.
Otherwise, as the fourth seed, the Clippers would meet the Warriors in the second round if both teams win their first-round series.
The Warriors have beaten the Clippers three times this season, and the Clippers have split the first two games against the Spurs.
“At the end of the day, it’s pretty much pick your poison with San Antonio or Golden State anyway,” Pierce said. “So we know no road to the Finals is going to be easy. So it’s a tossup. It’s a matter of who we want to play.”