PLAYA VISTA – The Los Angeles Clippers won an NBA-best 10 of their last 12 games – a stretch that started three weeks ago on a buzzer-beater by SG J.J. Redick that beat the Portland Trail Blazers at STAPLES Center.
— Law Murray (@LawMurrayTheNU) April 16, 2016
The Clippers clinched the fourth seed in the Western Conference on April 3, PF Blake Griffin’s first game back from injury/suspension. The Trail Blazers went into their season finale Wednesday night having clinched the 5th seed following a Dallas Mavericks loss. Now, the #4 Clippers and #5 Trail Blazers will meet in the First Round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs.
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) April 14, 2016
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 14, 2016
Game 1 of the best-of-seven series will take place at STAPLES Center on Sunday, April 17, at 10:30 P.M. Eastern Time (7:30 P.M. Pacific). TNT will broadcast Game 1. Game 2 will be televised on TNT Wednesday, April 20, at 10:30 P.M. Eastern (7:30 P.M. Pacific) in Los Angeles. The Clippers were 29-12 at home this season, including 2-0 versus the Trail Blazers.
Games 3 and 4 will take place at Portland’s Moda Center, where the Trail Blazers were 28-13 this season, including 1-1 versus the Clippers. Game 3 will be Saturday, April 23 at 10:30 P.M. Eastern (7:30 P.M. Pacific) on ESPN, while Game 4 will be on Monday, April 25 at 10:30 P.M. Eastern (7:30 P.M. Pacific) on TNT.
Game 5, 6, and 7 will be played as necessary; all times for those games are to be determined. Game 5 would be in Los Angeles on Wednesday, April 27th. Portland would host Game 6 on Friday, April 29. Game 7 would be in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 1st. The Clippers have won a Game 7 in each of head coach Doc Rivers’ previous first round series in Los Angeles.
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) March 31, 2016
The two teams both entered the NBA in 1970 (the Clippers were the Buffalo Braves then). This will be the first postseason meeting between the two teams, who have been in the Western Conference together since the 1978-1979 season when the Braves moved to San Diego and became the Clippers, and were Pacific Division rivals from 1978 until 2004. The Clippers are in the playoffs for the fifth straight season in a row, extending a franchise record, while the Trail Blazers are facing a Los Angeles based team in the playoffs for the first time since being swept in the first round of the 2002 NBA Playoffs by the Los Angeles Lakers.
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 15, 2016
Rivers (the NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month for April) and Portland head coach Terry Stotts have not had the most cordial interactions this season, and this postseason series should set off a new rivalry in the Western Conference. The two coaches got into it during a preseason game this season, then C DeAndre Jordan attempted 34 free throws in a November game at STAPLES Center. In January, Stotts accidentally listed SG C.J. McCollum as inactive, and the Clippers took advantage to beat the Trail Blazers in Portland. Before the game of Redick’s buzzer-beater last month, McCollum appeared to brush off the January incident with Doc Rivers before saying, “But if it was my son, I would probably protect him, too.”
Welcome to the playoffs.
CJ McCollum and Doc Rivers postgame pic.twitter.com/kUE2bCtgbD
— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) January 7, 2016