LA Clippers: The top three seeds are all still in play

LA Clippers Reggie Jackson (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Reggie Jackson (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

The LA Clippers dropped their game against the New Orleans Pelicans yesterday, but that’s far from the nail in the coffin when it comes to climbing the playoff seeding ladder.

At 43-20, the Clips sit two games back from the Utah Jazz in the one seed and only one game back from the Phoenix Suns in the two seed. With only nine games left to play, the race is getting very interesting.

Both the one and the two seed are still in play for the LA Clippers.

The one seed will be tough for the Clips to grab, but not impossible. I wouldn’t bet on the Clippers making up a two game deficit in nine games, especially since Utah owns the tiebreaker, but it could happen.

Donovan Mitchell is looking at missing at least another week. That could be another three to four games for the Jazz to play without their superstar, and after watching them lose again to the Minnesota Timberwolves, I’m not ruling out a continued slide.

Of course, it would be easier if the Clips hadn’t dropped this game to the Pelicans and were just a game and a half behind the Jazz, but I’m not calling it a foregone conclusion that the Clips can’t grab the one seed.

The two seed, currently occupied by the Suns, is an even more interesting race. The Clips already hold the tiebreaker over the Suns, so that one game lead Phoenix is holding onto is effectively a half game lead.

Not only is the race closer, but the Clips also have the perfect chance to close the gap in one go. The very next game the Clippers play is against the Suns tomorrow. Win that game, and the race is more or less tied; due to the difference in number of games played, the Suns would still have the very slightest of leads, but it would be effectively neck and neck.

If the Clips can snag either the one or two seed, they’ll get to play one of the teams coming out of the play-in tournament, giving them just a little bit more of a rest advantage. For a team which has struggled with the compressed schedule, any amount of rest they can get is beautiful.

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Of course, the Clippers may prioritize making sure their players are rested, and it would be hard to blame them. But don’t count us out of one of the top two seeds after that Pelicans loss.