Welcome to the Daily NBA Fix for Tuesday, March 11, the morning after the Miami Heat clinched a playoff spot (surprise!!!!) and the Los Angeles Clippers ran their winning streak to eight games.
The Los Angeles Clippers are on a serious roll, beating the Suns Monday night for their eighth straight win, despite being without key backcourt contributors J.J. Redick (back) and Jamal Crawford (calf). L.A. also played without Jared Dudley, who is dealing with back issues of his own.
The run now matches the second-longest winning streak for the Clippers since moving to Los Angeles from San Diego in 1984. The franchise record is the 17-game streak the Clippers put together in November and December 2012. The old Buffalo Braves had an 11-game streak that straddled the 1973-74 and 1974-75 seasons and the San Diego Clippers had an eight-game run in February and March of 1979.
The L.A. Clippers also won eight straight in November and December 1991.
What’s at stake for the Clippers in the always-rugged Western Conference is seeding. As of this morning, L.A. would be the No. 4 seed out West—the Clippers have been in the dreaded 4-5 matchup in each of the last two seasons. Considering it’s nearly 20 years since a team seeded lower than third (the Houston Rockets in 1995) has won a title, moving up the food chain would appear to be vital to the Clippers’ hopes of getting past the second round for the first time in franchise history (is this the part where we should mention that until a couple of years ago, the Clips were much more punch line than potential title candidate?)
The Clips are in a virtual tie with the Rockets, trailing by .006 in the standings for the third spot. But Houston’s also been hot, winning five in a row, but L.A. has gained three games on the now-No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder over their last 10 games, going 8-2 while the Thunder have drifted along at 5-5 and have lost their last two.
As for the top of the conference, there are the Spurs, who have won six in a row themselves. That 8-2 mark in L.A.’s last 10 games? That’s been good enough to lose a game in the standings to San Antonio, which is 9-1 in its last 10.
In all, the top five teams in the West are separated by a mere 4 ½ games, which means it should be an entertaining-as-hell final six weeks.
The Daily NBA Fix will deliver highlights, game capsules, the top and bottom five players, the dreaded Goose Egg, Clean and Sober and Ironman awards, we’ll recap who’s circling the drain, there will be some interesting pieces of relevant (and not-so-relevant) information and we’ll look at today’s daily lines for those people who like to wager a buck or two.
Check out the highlights below from the night that was, then get into the game capsules (home teams in CAPS).