PHILADELPHIA -- For the first time in franchise history the Clippers qualified for the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season on Friday with a 119-98 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Of course, simply qualifying for the playoffs isn’t a goal for the Clippers this season, but it’s a step in the right direction for a historically star-crossed franchise looking to have sustained success.
"The first [goal] is getting in the playoff,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “You’ve just got to get in, and then the second [goal] is if you can get home court it’d be great. But you want to win everything. It would’ve been great to win your division. It’s great to win all that stuff, but at the end of the day it doesn’t mean anything but you’ve got a chance. But the first thing in the West is just getting in the playoffs.”
Now that the Clippers have done that, the next step is getting home court in the first round of the playoffs. They would currently have home-court advantage in a 4-5 match-up with the Portland Trail Blazers because they have better record than Portland despite currently being the fifth seed. The Clippers are also just one game behind Houston for the third seed, which would give them home-court advantage in a 3-6 matchup against the San Antonio Spurs.
While the Clippers would probably like to avoid a first-round matchup with the defending champions, Rivers understands that no matchup in the West will be easy and any team that finds a way to advance will be good enough to win it all.
“If you’re good enough to win any series in the West, you’re good enough to win a world championship,” Rivers said. “I really believe that. There’s going to be four unbelievable teams going home in the first round. That’s just what it is, and you’ve got to deal with that.”