Clippers Top Kings, Clinch Homecourt Advantage For Series Against Jazz

Clippers coach Doc Rivers believes his club is in a good place as it heads to its franchise record sixth consecutive postseason. Riding a seven-game winning streak, the fourth-seeded Clippers tip off the playoffs at home on Saturday against the fifth-seeded Utah Jazz.

“I like the way we closed the (regular) season out, We had to as well,” said Rivers after the Clippers rolled past the Sacramento Kings 115-95 at Staples Center on Wednesday to clinch homecourt advantage. “We’ve been good for the last 14 games … and I said that that long ago and I felt that. We were winning games, but we weren’t blowing teams out, and so it didn’t look like we were playing well. But I kept saying ‘Guys,’ I’m telling you, we’re playing well.’ And you could see it and I think our guys could see it.”

The Clippers have dominated the Jazz in recent play, capturing three of the four contests this season and 18 of the past 20 games. But Rivers said that matters little when the two teams clash in the playoffs.

“Honestly, as I know and you know, it still starts all over, whether you’re playing well or not,” Rivers said. “Saturday, it doesn’t matter if Utah’s been playing great or not or (if we’ve) been playing great or not. It starts all over and you have to be ready.”

Against the Kings, all five Clippers’ starters scored in double figures. DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick led the way with 18 points apiece. Jordan also had 17 rebounds and four blocks.

Chris Paul had 17 points and nine assists, Blake Griffin contributed 15 points, nine boards and eight assists and Luc Mbah a Moute added 14 points.

The Clippers used a second-half flurry to pull away. They increased their 53-47 halftime edge into a double-digit lead in the third quarter. The Clippers outscored the Kings 34-26 in the third for an 87-73 advantage heading into the fourth.

The Clippers kept the pressure on in the final quarter. Unlike their March 26 loss, when the Kings rallied from an 18-point deficit in the final five minutes for a stunning 98-97 win over the Clippers, Los Angeles never allowed the lead to dip below double figures.

For the seventh straight game, the Clippers topped 50 percent shooting from the floor. They finished at 51.8 percent to 49.4 percent for the Kings. Jordan connected on 8 of 10 shots.

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