Updated: April 7, 2013, 9:30 PM ET

1. Clippers Looking For More Than A Banner Day

By J.A. Adande | ESPN.com

LOS ANGELES -- Historically, it represented the most significant victory since the Los Angeles Clippers have been the Clippers. The downside is that beating the Los Angeles Lakers immediately rendered it an irrelevant measure of the Clippers' 2012-13 season.

At the moment the buzzer sounded, with the scoreboard reading Clippers 109, Lakers 95, it meant the Lakers were on the outside of the Western Conference playoffs, holding an identical record to the 40-37 Utah Jazz but losing on the head-to-head tiebreaker for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Jazz later moved a half-game ahead by beating the Warriors. The true test of postseason worthiness comes in games against possible playoff opponents, and in their past six games against Western Conference teams that have clinched playoff berths the Clippers are 0-6.

Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesBlake Griffin and the Clippers drove to a first Pacific Division title against a team with 23.

There's one more chance to address that: an April 13 road game against the Memphis Grizzlies, their likely first-round opponent. Then, of course, there are the playoffs themselves. That's what will determine the tone of this season's summary.

But when the shelves are as barren of hardware and arena walls devoid of red-white-and-blue fabric as the Clippers, they should take a moment to reflect on their accomplishments this season. Their 51st victory, the most in franchise history, brought them their first Pacific Division championship.

"I'm just happy for the guys, happy for the fans, happy for the organization," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "It's been a long time. You have to earn it, and I think we did."

"It means a lot," said Chris Paul, who had 24 points and 12 assists. "It means that we're headed in the right direction, but there was no cake, no champagne popping or anything like that in the locker room."

You know what there wasn't much of in the Laker locker room? Lakers. That place cleared out quickly, and there was a paucity of optimism among those who remained. Dwight Howard gave brief, terse answers to those who sought explanations, Kobe Bryant offered sarcastic smirks to those who tried to elicit bravado along the lines of his previous playoff guarantees from him.

They're shorthanded -- starters Steve Nash and Metta World Peace were out again with injuries -- and now they're short on time. There are four home games and one road game left for them. It might not be enough time to get everyone healthy, probably not enough time to develop consistency in a season whose lone constant has been disruption, possibly not enough time to procure more victories than the Jazz.

"You adjust to the situation and you adjust to reality," Pau Gasol said. "And that's what we're dealing with right now."

Their primary flaw was on display again Sunday. They can't get repeated stops on defense, which is how this game and so many others have escaped them. Even though Bryant set a ball-movement tone with six early assists, and the Lakers established Dwight Howard inside early (Howard finished with 25 points), they still trailed, 30-25 after one quarter. The Clippers shot 54 percent in the first half, 50 percent for the game, and found themselves after a wobbly week.

It looked like the template for success that they established earlier in the season. Blake Griffin had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Jamal Crawford scored 20 points off the bench. They were dispensing credit instead of subtly implying blame, which started happening in their recent three-game losing streak. The effort was even more impressive than the execution, reflected by their 50-36 rebounding advantage.

"We just talked about our intensity on defense," Griffin said. "Once we do get the ball, if somebody scores, if they score or if we have a breakdown, to not sit and dwell on it. Just to get it out and play with pace. I thought we did a tremendous job, especially to start the second half, with getting stops."

This game was the season in summary; while the Lakers have the glorious past and the attention of the city and the country, the Clippers have the better record. We almost need to be reminded that the Clippers are 11 games ahead of the Lakers in the standings, because the amount of time and energy devoted to each doesn't reflect it.

The Clippers looked more like the team that opposing coaches labeled a championship contender earlier this season. It was tough to tell for sure though, because the Lakers looked like what they've been most of the year: a team that doesn't merit discussion among the league's elite.

Dimes past: March 22-23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29-30 | 31 | April 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5-6

2. Around the Association

2. Around the Association