Clippers notes: Setting up the playoff picture, injury updates

Chris Paul on Wednesday's Thunder matchup on Prime Ticket: 'It's a big game for us. We're up 2-1 right now, and a win would give us a 3-1 series (lead). Being one game behind, you always want to move up as much as possible to get home court.'

 

Richard Rowe/NBAE/Getty Images

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — To Clippers coach Doc Rivers, it’s just another game on the NBA schedule. But Wednesday night could be the most significant game his team plays this season.

"It’s just fun to play against a good team like that,"€ Rivers said Tuesday. "I’m sure they feel the same way. Other than that, I don’t know if there’s any more significance to it."

But there is. A No. 2 seed would guarantee the Clippers home-court advantage in the first round two of the playoffs, if they get that far.

"That would be important, I guess," Rivers said. "In the West, everybody’s good. I don’t know what changes in the seedings really means."

The Clippers lead the head-to-head series with the Thunder 2-1, and a victory would give them an edge in any tiebreaker scenario. Plus, the home-court advantage can’t be minimized.

"There definitely is something to it," guard Chris Paul said. "It’s a big game for us. We’re up 2-1 right now, and a win would give us a 3-1 series (lead). Being one game behind, you always want to move up as much as possible to get home court."

How much of a difference that will make is debatable. The Western Conference is stacked with strong teams, and even the Clippers are looking at a possible tough first-round series with the Golden State Warriors. As the second seed, they would face the Dallas Mavericks if the playoffs began today.

"Whether we’re two, three, one, seven, eight, you’re going to have to play some really good teams to get to where you want to be," Blake Griffin said. "It’s just inevitable. The home court thing is great, but you’re going to have to play in tough games."

Rivers said he’s inclined not to rest some of his starters, no matter how Wednesday’s game turns out. He might reduce the minutes of players such as Paul and Griffin, but he’s not likely to sit out anyone for a full game.

Besides, Paul says he prefers not to rest.

"Shoot, I’m all for whatever Doc has in mind, but at the same time, I love to play, want to play, need to play," he said. "I feel like every time I step on the court, even preseason, I want to play."

Turkoglu retires

Clippers forward Hedo Turkoglu formally retired from the Turkish national team after 16 years. He was a member of the team that won the silver medal at the 2001 European Championships.

"It’s time for me to move aside for the young guys," Turkoglu, 35, said. "I did enough for 16 years. It’s more appropriate to give more opportunity to the young guys. If you look, they’re going to carry on the flag. I hope people appreciate what I did, and I’m proud of what I did for them.

"I’m going to miss it, but I’m still going to be a part of  it."

Turkoglu said he intends to play a role with the national team and is open to coaching the team in the future.

Crawford, Granger still out

Jamal Crawford and Danny Granger took part is shooting drills but did not participate in the full practice Tuesday and won’t play Wednesday night, Rivers said. Saturday doesn’t look good, either.

Crawford has missed the past four games with a calf strain, and Granger has sat out five consecutive games with a hamstring injury.

"They’re just not ready," Rivers said. "I just don’t see them getting healthy enough to play right now."