Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/14/12
LOS ANGELES The Clippers have not yet officially clinched a postseason berth, but it's a measure of how far they've come since Chris Paul's arrival this season that playoff talk dominated the postgame conversation Saturday after their 112-104 win over the Warriors. Yes, these Clippers are a confident bunch after their 11th win in 13 games. And yes, they're looking ahead just not too far ahead. "It's all about locking up a playoff spot you got to get in," Paul said of the Clips, who are on the verge of their first berth since 2005-06 when he was a rookie with the Hornets, and Blake Griffin was a 17-year-old high-schooler. "Anything can happen when you get to the playoffs. "The sky's the limit. When we play the way we're capable of playing, we've already beaten some of the best teams in the league." But first things first like clinching that berth, and perhaps winning the "Battle for L.A." with the Lakers. Saturday's win inched them closer to the former, and within one game of the idle Lakers for the Pacific Division lead. With Paul scoring 12 of his 28 points in the final period and adding 13 assists, the Clip improved to 37-23. "Anything can happen once you get to the playoffs," said Paul. "Sky's the limit (for this team). When we play the way we're capable of, we've already beaten some of the best teams in the league. We've just got to keep working." One of the things the Clippers have to work at is landing a knockout punch on an opponent when they have them on the ropes. Saturday, with 6:24 gone in the first quarter, it looked like L.A. would bury the Warriors by the end of the period. They had a 24-5 lead, and ended up shooting 59.3 percent for the period. But when the buzzer sounded for halftime, the lead was down to one, and the Clippers found themselves in a familiar position, having blown a big lead. "That's been the story all season," Paul said. "It is what it is. But we can't let things like that bother us. We just have to keep fighting. And we did. "These types of games, you just want to get a win, and that's what we did. We knew we had lost to them twice, but we wanted it. Now we move on to the next game." That will be at Staples Center on Monday night against Oklahoma City. Another win over the ThunderL.A. beat them 100-98 on April 11 would clinch a playoff spot. Center DeAndre Jordan, who had 18 points and six rebounds, knows it won't be an easy road, as the Clippers play four of their last six games on the road. "All these games are really big not just for us but for the teams ahead of us and behind us," Jordan said. "We need to finish up the season strong, and play each game one game at a time. If we finish in the fourth spot (overall), that guarantees us home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. We can't afford to look too far ahead and get off track, though, because we still have to actually make the playoffs. So we need to finish strong and win as many games as possible to make it easy on ourselves." Paul said it would be a nice bonus to move past the perennial kings of the city, who host Dallas on Sunday but for bigger reasons than any L.A. bragging rights. "Yes, that would be great, but mostly because it would mean we also win the division if we finish in front of them," Pau said. "That's been our goal all season, to win the division. And we have a great shot at doing it. And if we can do it by beating out the Lakers at the same time, that's good too." Jordan agreed with CP 3 about winning the division, but said beating the Lakers doesn't mean a thing to him personally. "(Beating out the Lakers) means more to you (reporters) because it gives you something to talk about," Jordan said. "At the end of the day, we know what our goal is, and it's not to just beat out the Lakers. We want to get into the playoffs, then when we do, try to win a championship. "We want to beat anybody we play." They have come a long way.
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