Clippers know playoffs are likely, try to stay focused

first_img Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory LOS ANGELES — Mathematical probabilities and the websites that monitor them don’t do much for the Clippers.Sure, with Monday’s 113-105 victory over the Lakers, the Clippers (37-29) have a 98.4 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index.It’s a 97.2 percent chance according to basketball-reference.com, and a 95 percent shot, per FiveThirtyEight.com.But Coach Doc Rivers said his message to his players after Monday’s emotional win was the tried-and-true gotta take it one game at a time: “Good win, but we got a lot of games left.” What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 SHAMET IS A SHOOTERAs an encore to Sunday’s Clippers rookie record-setting seven-3-pointers performance, guard Landry Shamet made three of his seven attempts from behind the arc against the Lakers – including the one that tied it at 82 with 2:43 left in the third quarter. After that, the Clippers never trailed again.“I trust him; he’s a shooter, he’s not going to hesitate,” Rivers said. “More importantly, our guys trust him. … That’s why we like him on our team.”The historical icing for Shamet is that his three 3-pointers also moved him into 22nd all-time among NBA rookies for made 3-pointers in a season. His 129 so far tie him with Gary Neal and Bogdan Bogdanovic. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell set the rookie record last season with 187.ENEMY LINES?In his first game against his former team of two-plus seasons, Zubac finished with seven points and four rebounds in 14 minutes – after grabbing only one board, and making one basket and one free throw in seven minutes of first-half play.Related Articles Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates Sixteen of them remain, actually, against teams with a .493 winning percentage collectively this season. Eleven of their final regular-season contests will be at home.“Can’t relax, gotta keep playing, this is a journey, it really is,” said Rivers, who entered this, his 20th season, having coached 14 teams into the postseason, including the NBA champion Boston Celtics in 2008.“Every night is a big night. (The one we) played the other night in Sacramento, that was a big game. The Knick game, it was a big game, because we needed to win. (Monday night), a big game,” Rivers continued. “I said, ‘From now on, get the big part and understand it and then we gotta come play.’”“Just play,” echoed veteran guard Lou Williams, who has made seven playoff appearances with four teams. “Don’t put the pressure of the world on yourselves; you can’t win three or four games a night. You gotta focus on the opponent that’s in front of you and that’s it.”“There’s still a lot of games left and everything’s possible,” said third-year center Ivica Zubac, who nonetheless permitted himself a moment of excited anticipation beyond Friday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center. “I think the way we’re playing, we’re going to get it,” he said. “And I’ve never played in a playoff game (so) it would be an amazing experience and I can’t wait to compete.” Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum “Second half, he was great,” Rivers said, joking, “first half, I had to tell him, ‘You’re on our team, stop shaking their hands!’ I mean, he’s laughing with (the Lakers), I was like, ‘Hey, Zube, you’re with us today.’“But he was really excited for the game, and it was a good test for him too, I loved how he came out in the second half.”Afterward, the 21-year-old center thought about his first clash with the only other team for which he’s played and surmised: “It was almost like any other game, just against the guys I knew really well.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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