The Clippers blew their last chance at the Pacific Division title. Despite stellar efforts from Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers were unable to stop the Hawks offense and it wasn’t even that close at the end.
The loss sealed the #3 seed for the Los Angeles Lakers, and opened the door for the Clippers to lose home-court advantage against the Grizzlies in the Playoffs. A 7-game series against the Grizzlies will be difficult enough without home-court advantage, and the Clippers have no margin of error against the Knicks in their season-finale if they are going to get out of the first round.
Paul scored 34 points to go along with 8 assists, and Blake Griffin scored a game-high 36 points to go along with 8 rebounds, but it wasn’t nearly enough for the Clippers. No one else on the Clippers scored more than 10 points and they simply couldn’t contend with the team effort from the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks bested the Clippers in both rebounds and assists, and took a step closer to gaining home-field advantage in their series against the Boston Celtics with the victory.
More importantly, or troublingly, the Clippers showed last night that they are a team that can be beaten even if Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are lighting it up, if the other team can neutralize their other weapons. This is not the best omen with the Playoffs rapidly approaching, and the Clippers season hangs in the balance as a result.