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Clippings: What’s the most likely seeding for the Clippers in the playoffs?

A first-round rematch is in play.

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LA Clippers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The Clippers probably wasted their best chance of catching the Suns for the second seed in the Western Conference after losing in Phoenix Wednesday. That means a top-two seed is likely unreasonable, though Ty Lue said it might even be a disadvantage to be in that position since you have to wait until the end of the play-in to know your first-round opponent. Gamesmanship, to be sure.

Per FiveThirtyEight, the most probable landing spot for the Clippers is the No. 3 seed since they are three losses behind the Suns with eight games to play. However, Denver is right on their toes, tied at 21 losses with the opportunity to earn the tiebreaker on Saturday when the Nuggets come to Los Angeles.

Here are the two teams’ remaining schedules:

Clippers: Nuggets, Raptors, Lakers, Knicks, @Raptors, @Hornets, @Rockets, @Thunder

Nuggets: Raptors, @Clippers, @Lakers, Knicks, @Jazz, Nets, @Hornets, @Timberwolves, @Pistons, @Trail Blazers

It’s going to be tough for Denver to hold off the Clippers given the difficulty of their remaining games. First off, the Nuggets have to play 10 games compared to eight for the Clippers. They also have to play the Jazz and the Nets in those extra two, currently the best teams in each conference.

What’s interesting is that the fifth and sixth seeds are also in flux, and neither of the potential options are particularly agreeable. Either the Clippers would face the Mavericks, who gave the Clippers a scare in the first round last year and won the season series in 2020-21, or they’d get the Lakers, the defending champions. Admittedly, the Lakers do not appear as threatening as last year, since LeBron James and Anthony Davis haven’t played a game together since Feb. 14, and it would be ideal to play them earlier than later, but those are tough opponents.

The Clippers claim they aren’t standings watching, but it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to root for the Blazers to move up ahead of the Lakers or Dallas.

More news for Thursday: