PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Los Angeles Clippers made their intention for the final regular-season game known before they even boarded their flight to Portland.
They left Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick back in Los Angeles. DeAndre Jordan would start in order to keep his current NBA-high streak of 240 straight games alive but be taken out less than two minutes into the game.
Despite being without four-fifths of their starting lineup, the Clippers nearly defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in the final game of the regular season. They came back from a 22-point deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter before losing 110-104. The Clippers will now open the playoffs Saturday afternoon against the Golden State Warriors.
How it happened: The Clippers’ reserve unit looked like it would get run out of the building in Portland early. They fell behind by 14 points in the first quarter and 22 points by halftime before they began to mount a comeback in the third quarter behind Jamal Crawford’s hot hand. They went up by as many as six points in the fourth quarter before Portland eventually pulled away for the win.
What it means: It means the Clippers closed out the regular season with a franchise-record 57 wins and a franchise-high 3-seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They will open the postseason against Golden State on Saturday.
Hits: Crawford looked like the sixth man of the year in a starting role, finishing with 34 points, eight assists and five rebounds and nearly single-handedly willed the Clippers to a win in the second half. Matt Barnes added 19 points and eight rebounds, while Darren Collison had 19 points and seven assists.
Misses: None, except for the players missing on the Clippers' bench, as Paul, Griffin and Redick stayed back in L.A.
Stat of the game: Without Griffin and Jordan, the Clippers were destroyed for points in the paint, 54 to 28.
Up next: The Clippers open the playoffs at Staples Center against the Warriors on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. on ABC. The Clippers and Warriors split their four regular-season games with the Clippers winning the last meeting 111-98 last month in Los Angeles.