Still barely alive for a Pacific Division crown and the third seed in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Clippers will play back- to-back road games to close out the regular season, starting with tonight's showdown against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.
The Clippers are one-half game behind the rival Lakers in the Pacific and conference standings, and must win out and hope for a Lakers loss Thursday in Sacramento to claim their first division title. The Clippers have won six of seven games, including Sunday's 107-98 home triumph versus New Orleans.
Chris Paul scored 13 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter and added 13 assists and eight steals to lead the way. Randy Foye had 24 points and Blake Griffin contributed 21 and 15 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Clippers.
"A win is a win, we have to keep fighting. We control our own destiny," said Paul.
Clippers starting forward Caron Butler suffered a left hip contusion late in the first quarter and did not return. He is questionable for Tuesday. Clippers guard Nick Young (flu-like symptoms) is also questionable against Atlanta.
Los Angeles will end the regular season at New York on Wednesday and is 16-15 as the visitor this season.
Atlanta is the fifth seed in the East and is aiming for homecourt advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. It had a three-game winning streak cut short with Sunday's 113-112 loss to the Knicks, as Carmelo Anthony scored a game-high 39 points, including the go-ahead basket, to lead New York.
Marvin Williams paced Atlanta with a season-high 29 points as well as 11 rebounds. Jeff Teague scored 23 points and Joe Johnson had 22 for the Hawks, who suffered their third loss in the past 10 contests.
"It's a tough one to lose, to put yourself in a position like that and just come up short," Williams said.
The Hawks will wrap up the regular season versus Dallas on Thursday and are 21-10 at Philips Arena this season.
Atlanta dropped a 96-82 decision to the Clippers in LA back on March 14, ending its four-game win streak in the series. The Clippers are just 4-12 in the previous 16 trips to the Peach State.