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Clippers clinch West play-in spot with Pelicans rout.
The Los Angeles Clippers have clinched a spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament with a dominant 118-94 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.
The Clippers, who were without star forward Kawhi Leonard due to a foot injury, were led by Paul George’s 28 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. Marcus Morris Sr. added 24 points, while Ivica Zubac chipped in with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
The win improved the Clippers’ record to 44-22, which is good for the fourth seed in the West. They are now guaranteed to finish no lower than seventh in the conference, which means they will participate in the play-in tournament.
The play-in tournament, which was introduced last season in the NBA bubble, features the teams that finish seventh through 10th in each conference. The seventh and eighth seeds will play each other, with the winner earning the seventh seed in the playoffs. The ninth and 10th seeds will also play each other, with the loser being eliminated from playoff contention.
The Clippers’ victory over the Pelicans was their third straight win and their seventh in their last eight games. They have been playing some of their best basketball of the season in recent weeks, despite missing Leonard for several games.
George has been particularly impressive during this stretch, averaging 29.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game over his last four outings. He has been carrying the load for the Clippers in Leonard’s absence and has shown that he is more than capable of leading the team.
The Clippers will now turn their attention to their final two games of the regular season, both of which are against the Oklahoma City Thunder. They will look to continue their strong play and build momentum heading into the play-in tournament.
While the Clippers have clinched a spot in the play-in tournament, their ultimate goal is to win a championship. They came up short in the playoffs last season, losing to the Denver Nuggets in the second round. This year, they will be looking to make a deeper run and bring a title to Los Angeles.
With George playing at an elite level and the rest of the team stepping up in Leonard’s absence, the Clippers have the talent and depth to make a serious run in the playoffs. They will be a team to watch in the Western Conference, and their dominant victory over the Pelicans on Friday night was a statement that they are ready for the challenge.