LA Clippers Secure No. 4 Seed After Beat The Kings

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Brandon Rush right fouls Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday

The issue was Utah, who shot the lights out and hit 4 triples of their own, including a long buzzer beating banker by Rodney Hood. The Spurs kept applying pressure early in the fourth quarter.

The Clippers and Jazz do not have a storied rivalry, but have faced one another in the NBA Playoffs before. Basically, led by Rudy Gobert and Gordon Hayward, they are an exceptional defensive team. As always, trust in Pop and things usually work themselves out.

Mason Plumlee and Malik Beasley scored 16 apiece in the first game for the Nuggets (39-42) since getting eliminated from the postseason. Griffin, Paul and DeAndre Jordan are in their sixth season together trying to make it happen. He benched Thompson, Durant (who was injured), Curry and Draymond Green that night and watched the San Antonio Spurs blitz his club 107-85 in a nationally televised affair.

Spurs: Pau Gasol reached the 20,000 career-points with 13 points and now has 20,001 for his career.

Neither are traditional, back-to-the-basket scoring bigs, but their impact on offense-and on each other-will be key to their respective teams' success in the first round. Gasol did record his 20,000th career point late in the period, becoming just the 43rd player to perform that feat.

"It's only a few teams playing, man", Johnson said. Somehow it actually felt like less than that.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said he won't be resting players against Utah but it will be no surprise if some players have their minutes limited.

LOS ANGELES In a ideal world, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan would not have been on the court in the second half of the Clippers' regular-season finale on Wednesday, a 115-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

Their field goal percentage is well below the league average, as are their assists per game. The last time the Warriors rested Thompson, it was a part of a statement that Kerr made at the end of an eight-game stretch in which Golden State played in eight different cities.

ATLANTA (AP) - Dwight Howard had 19 points and 12 rebounds as the resurgent Atlanta Hawks won their fourth straight game, routing the listless Charlotte Hornets 103-76 on Tuesday night to wrap up the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Jazz come into this playoff series as a team that, statistically speaking, may be even better than their playoff ranking may indicate.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, rear, lays the ball up as left to right, San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green (14), LaMarcus Aldridge and David Lee (10) defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in Salt Lake City. David Robinson was the last Spur to do that, in 1994-95. Its more a question of how you respond to that.”. They only lose their hold on home court advantage in the first round in the last days of the season.

I'll keep updating this article as I get more e-mail replies from Clips Nation staff members.

Ah, yes. The playoffs are finally here.