– It’s so obvious just how much the Clippers miss Jamal Crawford in a game of this magnitude. Shooting less than 40 percent most of the game, the Clippers really could have used the sharp-shooting Crawford. With him in the game, they likely are not down by 15 points in the fourth quarter in the first place.
– The good news is, Crawford told a few of us before the game that he will play again before the playoffs begin late next week. He said the last thing he wants to do is have the first game of the playoffs be his first game back. He has now missed five consecutive games with that strained left calf. He previously had missed eight of nine games because of the injury before coming back to play in five games ahead of this current episode.
– Yes, it’s good that the Clippers showed some spunk by nearly erasing all of a 15-point deficit with just over seven minutes to play. They came within a point. But they certainly did not play well throughout the game. At times, they looked downright out of rhythm on offense, something coach Doc Rivers conceded in the post-game news conference. They had to have been ready to play. How could they not be for such an important game? The one thing the Clippers can’t do in the post-season is fall behind and expect to come back just because they do it rather well. They need to be ready to rumble at the opening bell.
– J.J. Redick shot a very uncharacteristic 1-for-7 from the field. If it were anyone other than Redick, you’d say it wasn’t a big deal because every shooter has an off night. But since Redick recently missed two months with a bulging disc in his back, it evokes worry that his back might be acting up again. The Clippers had better hope not. By the way, all of Redick’s seven shot attempts were from beyond the 3-point line.
– Now that OKC has all but locked up the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference standings, the Clippers pretty much know they’re going to be No. 3. The No. 4 Rockets could have gained a game on the Clippers, but they lost to Denver and remain 2 1/2 games behind the Clippers. The Rockets have four games left, the Clippers three. The Thunder, with a 2 1/2-game lead on the Clippers, have four games remaining. If the season ended today, the Clippers would play No. 6 Golden State in the first round of the playoffs.