Since leaving his post as the Boston Celtics head coach, Doc Rivers has accumulated a 3-0 record against the side he lead to the 2008 NBA Championship, including a 102-93 victory at Staples Center on January 19th earlier in the year. Brad Stevens, Rivers' successor and former Butler University head man, has the Boston Celtics in the midst of a rumble for the eight and final seed in a mediocre Eastern Conference.
The Clippers are closing out a three game East Coast trip, coming after demolishing the New York Knicks and Philadephia 76ers, respectively, allowing the side to rest all key players, as no starter topped 30 minutes. Victory in Philadelphia also clinched a playoff berth, for the fourth consecutive season. Something that has never occured previously, in the abysmal history of the franchise. Yet, it still isn't enough for Chris Paul. "There are a few teams in the league who get to the playoffs and consider it a successful year," said Paul, arguably the league's best point guard. "For us, we're playing for more than that. That's just how it is. I'm not trying to be ungrateful, but we're playing for a bigger purpose."
On the flipside, Boston currently holds the 8th seed, with a 1/2 game advantage over the Brooklyn Nets, and a game over the Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers. Detroit is four games back, and all but out of the playoff hunt, though anything can occur. Boston is also a game behind the 7th slotted Miami Heat.
Sneaking out a 96-92 victory in New York on Friday night gave Boston it's ever so slight cushion, and building on it is required for the young side to keep its hopes for a return to the playoffs alive. However, the Clippers are on a six game tear, and expect them to notch their seventh straight victory on Sunday, and keep their ascend in the Western Conference seeding to continue.