The Los Angeles Clippers clearly have their eyes on the rival Lakers as playoff seeding and matchups come down to the wire, and they even know who they want the Lakers to play in the first round if it were up to them.
According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Clippers players actively want the Lakers to have to face Portland in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, as they believe the Blazers could actually beat the Lakers. The sentiment is strong enough that coach Doc Rivers reportedly heard his players discussing the scenario, either on the bench or in the locker room.
The Clippers could have helped increase the likelihood of such a scenario Saturday had they lost to Portland, but they ultimately won a game that led to some serious bad blood.
As of Sunday afternoon, Portland sits a game-and-a-half behind the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies in the race for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Whoever gets it will face a Lakers team that looks vulnerable, having gone just 2-4 since entering the Orlando bubble.
One can see why the Clippers would favor Portland, a team with two star guards in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum and a sturdy interior defender in Jusuf Nurkic. Ironically, the Clippers’ win Saturday might play a big role in preventing their preferred matchup from happening.