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Clippers and the Playoff Picture

The Warriors FINALLY lost. So where do the Clippers sit?

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

After twenty-five games, the Golden State Warriors finally lost a game. At 24-1, the Warriors are actually only four games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the Western Conference. Presuming the Warriors do not continue a 96% win rate for the rest of the season, it's actually possible that the Warriors do not even finish with the first overall seed in the West. If there was ever a team that has profited from the national media focusing entirely on the Warriors, it's the Spurs.

The Clippers meanwhile sit at the 4th seed in the West. For all the struggles that the Clippers have experienced, the Western Conference has proven much deeper than expected and the projected upper echelon of teams in the West have not all run away from the rest of the pack. The Sacramento Kings (13th in the West) are actually only 2.5 games out of the 8th seed and 4 games out of the 5th seed. The West remains pretty wide open. The Clippers are 1.5 games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the 3rd seed and are only 1 game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies (5th) for home court advantage in the first round.

Going forward, the top seed is probably out of the question with 9.5 games separating the Warriors and Clippers. Still, the Clippers could conceivable compete for the second seed. That's pretty important because it (1) ensures an easier first round match up, and (2) secures home court advantage for the second round. Assuming the Clippers win their next game, the Clippers will then have 57 games to make up 5 games  Tough, but possible. Beyond that, the Clippers are easily capable of surpassing the Thunder for the 3rd seed. While that would set up a daunting second round match up likely with the Spurs, the Clippers have the confidence of knowing that they beat the Spurs last year in the first round. For now. hopefully Doc Rivers figures out his bench sooner than later.