The Los Angeles Clippers fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night 107-101. The Clippers potentially missed out on an golden opportunity to catch the number 2 seed in the Western Conference, with the loss.
If the Clippers won, and a tie for the number 2 seed arose, the Clippers would've owned the tie breaker against the Thunder.
However as disappointing as the loss was, the Clippers and head coach Doc Rivers remained positive, focused, and understand what is ahead.
"I think we're good enough to win it," Rivers said. "But I still don't know our team until we get to the playoffs, as far as how we're going to react or how other teams will react. The regular season is great and it prepares you and you get a better idea of where you are, but it's still another emotional level in the playoffs."
The playoffs are a different atmosphere than the regular season. The Clippers want to avoid an early season first round exit after winning 56 games, and capturing their first Pacific Division title.
It's 50 to get in -- 50 games to be eligible for the playoffs in the West. Any seed 1-8 are loaded, and can provide a potential upset at any moment.
Rivers believes in preparation, but also understands, you have to be ready for anyone you play. If the Clippers make it to the second round past the Golden State Warriors, they would face a rematch of the Thunder.
The Thunder continued to get second chance opportunities throughout the game. As hard as the Clippers fought back, it was too little too late.
The Clippers mounting a comeback in the 4th quarter, and were relentless against the Thunder's defense. However the Thunder in the last two minutes ensured their victory with clutch shooting from Durant, and timely passing by Westbrook that kept the team in sync.
"They're a good basketball team, and they're going to make a run," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks. "I like the fact we weathered the storm with our defense. Our defense did a good job down the stretch."
The battle in paint belongs to DeAndre Jordan who outplayed Kendrick Perkins and finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
The Clippers look to finish up strong against their remaining opponents in Sacramento, Denver, and Portland before the playoffs begin.
"We're going to have to play three tough teams to get to the Finals no matter what seed we are," Griffin said. "If we were 1 or we were 8, we would have to play some tough teams home and on the road."