Following a road game against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night, the LA Clippers will face stern tests against the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder late in the week. While the Clippers can’t overlook the struggling Bulls, they also must find a way to grab one win against two of the West’s better teams–both of which take place away from Staples Center.
From here on out, each game will seemingly serve as a playoff contest. The Clippers enjoy a half-game lead over the ninth-seeded Denver Nuggets (one full game in the loss column), but a good or bad week could be the difference between fifth place and 10th place.
As it stands, only 1.5 games separate the fourth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans and the 10th-seeded Utah Jazz.
"Tough games, every game," Clippers head coach Doc Rivers told reporters after a win over the Orlando Magic. "We've just got to keep our focus. We've got to keep the one-game-at-a-time mantra, which we've kept all year."
The Clippers still have 17 games left on their 2017-18 schedule. The Nuggets, meanwhile, have 15 games to play. Little is certain about the playoff standing, though. Only the first-place Rockets have officially clinched a playoff spot, and they will continue to battle with the Golden State Warriors for the No. 1 seed in the West.
The Clippers will need to continue their run without two starters. Danilo Gallinari was projected to miss two weeks or more with a fracture in his hand, while Avery Bradley is uncertain to return this season. The former Detroit Piston is suffering from a sports hernia injury.
"Again, I have a great group," Rivers added. "Every night we can change the lineups. Nobody complains. Everybody is always ready. Certain nights some guys play, other guys don't play and no one cares. They just want to win and that's why we're winning games."
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