LOS ANGELES — No one really mentioned the Lakers. Or the neighborhood rivalry.
The Clippers have clearly moved beyond that topic.
Their interest now is getting healthy, fixing the little things, working as a collective unit toward the playoffs and making a deep run when they get there.
"We’ve been saying for a while now, it’s about us," Chris Paul said. "Doc (Rivers) told us going into this game it’s about competing."
The Clippers are doing that. Their 120-97 victory over the short-handed Lakers at Staples Center on Sunday afternoon was almost a mundane exercise. The score was never closer than eight points in the second half, and the Clippers led by 19 or more at every point in the fourth quarter. They’re now 7-1 against the Lakers over the past two seasons.
Not that there isn’t work to do. Coach Doc Rivers was dissatisfied with his team’s turnovers in the first half (12) despite shooting 60.5 percent. But he noted some other aspects as the Clippers approach their final four games of the regular season.
Forward Hedo Turkoglu, who didn’t play in two of the previous five games, had 10 points in 9 minutes 52 seconds, including a fast-break dunk in the final period.
"I didn’t know he could dunk," Rivers said, smiling.
Then he added, "I keep saying he’s going to help us at some point, in some game. So any time he can play minutes like that, that’s good."
Glen "Big Baby" Davis had seven points and eight rebounds in 18 1/2 minutes and looks to be in better shape for the Clippers’ fast-pace style.
"You can see it," Rivers said. "He’s working his butt off — and that’s important for us."
Perhaps most important, J.J. Redick returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Nov. 27 and made 7 of 11 shots for 15 points. Redick, who sat out 25 games with a bulging disk in his lower back, now has played in two consecutive games.
Sunday marked only the 17th game he and Paul were in starting lineup together this season.
Redick said he's made progress in the last 3 days. "I feel better physically. Mentally, I felt a little sharper tonight, too."
"This injury has been very interesting in terms of the number of weeks where I felt like I wasn’t making any improvement," Redick said. "Then, in the last two weeks, it seems like every day I’ve gotten better and better."
That’s critical for the Clippers, who now are waiting for the return of Jamal Crawford (calf strain) and Danny Granger (strained hamstring) to solidify their second unit with Darren Collison, Davis and Turkoglu.
"This is the time you have to start doing that," Paul said, speaking about the team’s health. "J.J. went down, I went down, and me and (Collison) started for a while, and now J.J. is back. So we’re just trying to get everybody in the right rhythm because itâs tough to get going right when the playoffs start."
And really, that’s all the Clippers are concerned with. They play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night at Staples, and a win could move them to within a half game of the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
"It’s a big game, big for us," Paul said. "I’m not sure where we are as far as seeding, but what is it, 2-1 for us (in head-to-head games)? So if it does come down to something like that, we’d love to have the tiebreaker."