The LA Clippers took matters in their own hands in the second half against the skeleton crew Phoenix Suns with a 119-114 win on the road.


In what was a totally Clippers type of situation, their Sunday matinee game against the Suns was delayed momentarily due to a faulty speaker in the arena.

In a weird twist of fate, this allowed the Clippers game to fall behind the other games going on, thus allowing them to potentially ‘tank’ depending on other outcomes around the Western Conference.

The one game that should have interested the Clippers was the Minnesota Timberwolves/New Orleans Pelicans game. If the Wolves beat the Pelicans, then the Clippers would avoid the play-in no matter what happened against the Suns.

At the end of the day though, the Clippers decided not to tempt fate. It’s a risk and after what happened last season, dropping down to the play-in should not have been an option.

After sleepwalking through the first half, the Clippers came out of halftime in similar fashion to the Blazers game on Sunday. They blitzed the Suns with a 9-0 run to briefly take control of the game. The Suns responded though, and through three and a half quarters, it looked like Clipper Nation’s fears of slipping to the play-in were a startling reality.

But the Clippers managed to settle in and seize control of the game from a Suns group that should never be a regular NBA rotation. It may not have been pretty, it may not have been easy, but the Clippers are officially in the playoffs without having to go through the play-in.

And they should feel good about themselves in a way. Kawhi Leonard has been playing some of his best basketball. His hops have been phenomenal and he caught yet another lob against the Suns. A healthy Leonard is a top-five player in the league. He finished with 25 points, a season-high 15 rebounds and six assists and now he gets an entire week of rest.

The Suns will be no easy match that’s for sure. When Kevin Durant returned to the lineup, they looked incredible. But at some point you have to have confidence in yourself and against whoever lands in front of you.

For an older team like the Clippers, a week’s worth of rest should do them wonders. The playoffs begin now.

David Yapkowitz

David Yapkowitz

David is in his sixth season as credentialed media at Los Angeles Clippers games and second season covering the team for 213 Hoops. He also covers the game at the college and high school levels. When his professional basketball dreams did not materialize, he turned to the next best thing, writing about it.

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