Clippers Lock Up 2nd Seed in Best Finish Ever

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  • The L.A. Clippers clinched 2nd seed in the West after they beat the Denver Nuggets 124-111 on Wednesday in Orlando.
  • L.A. will play the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2020 NBA playoffs beginning next week.
  • By finishing second, the Clippers have recorded their best finish in franchise history.

The L.A. Clippers secured the second seed in the Western Conference after beating the Denver Nuggets 124-111 on Wednesday.

The Clippers needed to win one of their last two games to officially become the #2 team in the Western Conference. They got the win with still one game to spare.

Paul George finished with 27 points for his sixth straight game with at least 20 points. Kawhi Leonard added 26 points, his 11th consecutive game with 20 or more points. The Clippers unloaded a 22-7 third quarter run to seal the victory. They will face the 7th seeded Dallas Mavericks in the opening round of the playoffs which will begin next week.

Huge Expectations

The Clippers entered this season with huge expectations. Steve Ballmer’s team acquired both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George during the offseason and right off the bat, they were installed as the pre-season betting favorites. However, the season did not go as planned. Staggered injuries have prevented them from playing with a 100% complete roster early on.

George started the season on the injured list while Leonard didn’t play in back to back games due to load management. But as the season progressed, the team got healthier and they started showing their true form. Getting 100% healthy though, continued to be a challenge. Even in Orlando, the Clippers have missed key players. Lou Williams missed the start of the bubble tournament while Montrezl Harrell will make his Orlando debut in the Clippers’ last seeding game.

Heading to the playoffs, the Clippers still have a pair of key players nursing injuries. Starting guard Patrick Beverley has a calf strain while reserve Landry Shamet is out with a sprained left foot. Neither injuries are serious but Doc Rivers may have to open the 2020 NBA playoffs without a complete lineup. But if this team earned the second seed playing a total of 11 games with a complete roster, the Clippers should be fine.

Best Finish Ever

This marks the first time in franchise history that the team has finished as the 2nd seed in the Western Conference. Despite still having a game on Friday, the Clippers have also recorded their best win-loss total ever. Even if they lose to the Thunder, they will still beat the record of 25 losses set during the 2013-14 season. The team will also finish with their 5th best ever win percentage at .671. And yes, this will be the first time in their history that they will be facing the Dallas Mavericks in the postseason.

The L.A. Clippers beat the Mavericks in all of their three regular season meetings this season. But this 2 vs. 7 matchup will be very interesting because it pits the 5th best defensive rating in the league against the #1 offensive rating in the NBA. Both teams also feature a pair of superstars in the Clippers’ Leonard and George and the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, making this a more appetizing series.

The difference maker for the Clippers could easily be their deep bench which is led by three-time Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams and fellow Sixth Man of the Year candidate Montrezl Harrell. The Clippers also have excellent veteran substitutes like Reggie Jackson, Patrick Patterson, and JaMychal Green.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher.