In the playoffs, the team one's franchise ends up facing in the first round is important. Especially in the tough Western Conference, where every team can beat any other team on a given night, a good matchup could mean an easier path to the NBA Finals.
The Los Angeles Clippers have recently rested a majority of their key starters during their game against the Houston Rockets, in what looks like an attempt to lose in order to avoid the 3rd seed. If the Clippers stayed the 3rd seed, there was a chance that they would have to play the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, as the Lakers have a shot to move up to the 6th seed prior to the end of the season.
A first-round matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers isn't an ideal situation for the Clippers, and it seems like they were attempting to actively avoid their Los Angeles rivals. Basketball analysts Rob Perez and Mike Trudell both explained the situation:
If the Los Angeles Clippers secure the 4th seed, then they would likely be able to play the Dallas Mavericks, who are a much easier matchup than the Los Angeles Clippers. Some fans commented on the Clippers purposefully losing with a variety of opinions. While some suggested that the Clippers are scared of the Lakers, others praised the move that Rob Perez described as a "big-time chess move".
It is clear that opinions were mixed on what the Los Angeles Clippers did, but it seems like their team thinks this is the best chance for them to win a championship. While they may have avoided playing the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, that doesn't mean that the matchup can't happen later. The battle of Los Angeles would be fun for all fans, and hopefully, we get to see it these upcoming playoffs.