Clippers lose to Jazz with their playoff seeding and first-round opponent locked in



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The Clippers’ first-round playoff matchup was set before tip-off Friday night.

With Dallas losing to Detroit, the Clippers already knew before their 110-109 loss to the Utah Jazz that they had clinched the fourth seed in the Western Conference and will play the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs.

It means a lot. You have a chance to play on your home floor,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said before the game. “We have great fans who are very supportive and just being comfortable at home; sleeping in your own bed and having a normal routine. So it’s good to have home-court advantage whenever you play.”

The next order of business for the Clippers is to become completely healthy, something they haven’t been in a while.

Their top player, Kawhi Leonard, didn’t play against the Jazz because of right knee inflammation. It was the seventh straight game Leonard missed because of a knee issue. Leonard had been relatively healthy this season, missing just six games before his latest injury.

The Clippers haven’t said if Leonard will play against Houston in the regular-season finale Sunday. In 68 games, Leonard averaged 23.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists and shot 52.5% from the field, 41.7% from three-point range.

Lue said getting healthy is the team’s “No. 1 priority” heading into the playoffs.

James Harden returned after missing two games with right foot inflammation. He played just 10 minutes and had four points and five assists.

Lue said he wasn’t sure if the team would have to manage Harden’s foot injury in the postseason.

Paul George didn’t play after the first quarter, logging eight minutes and scoring 10 points. Starters Ivica Zubac and Terance Mann also didn’t play much either. Zubac played 10 minutes and had 10 points and Mann played five minutes and had five points.

Bones Hyland led the Clippers with 20 points and Amir Coffey scored 16 points.

The Clippers (51-29) had a chance to beat the Jazz (30-50), but Xavier Moon missed a jumper. Brandon Boston Jr. grabbed the rebound, but he couldn’t get off a shot before the buzzer.



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