Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/14/12
LOS ANGELES After their 112-104 win Saturday afternoon against the Golden State Warriors at STAPLES Center, the Clippers are breathing a rarefied air never before experienced by the franchise. At 37-23 and holding the fourth spot in the Western Conference, L.A.s other pro basketball team has a legitimate shot at getting to the NBA Finals. If you dont believe it, just ask their best player. Absolutely, said point guard Chris Paul, who led the Clips with 28 points and 13 assists. Anything can happen once you get to the playoffs. Skys the limit (for this team). When we play the way were capable of, weve already beaten some of the best teams in the league. Weve just got to keep working. And one of the things the Clippers must improve on is landing a knockout punch on an opponent when they have them on the ropes. 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 nineteen point lead24-5and 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. Thats been the story all season, Paul said. It is what it is. But we cant 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 thats what we did. We knew we had lost to them twice, but we wanted it. Now we move on to the next game. Which will be at STAPLES Center Monday night against Oklahoma City. Another win over the ThunderL.A. beat them 100-98 on April 11will clinch a playoff spot for a team that hasnt seen the post-season in five years. Center DeAndre Jordan, who had 18 points and six rebounds, knows it wont be an easy road, as the Clippers play four of their last six games on the road. All these games are really big, Jordan said, not just for us but for the teams ahead of us and behind us. We need to finish up the season strong, and play each game one game at a time. If we finish in the fourth spot, that guarantees us home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. We cant 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. Theres also one other possible goal for the Clippers to accomplish: finishing ahead of the Lakers in the standings. They trail their arena-mates by a game going into the Lakers home meeting with Dallas on Sunday, and Paul said it would be a nice to move past a perennial winning franchise. Yes, that would be great, Paul said, but mostly because it would mean we also win the division if we finish in front of them. Thats 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, thats good too. Jordan agrees with CP3 about winning the division, but beating the Lakers doesnt 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 its 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.
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