SAN ANTONIO — The Los Angeles Clippers are not where they want to be entering the postseason, but they are a lot closer after toppling the San Antonio Spurs.
Chris Paul had 19 points and the Clippers beat the Spurs 98-87 on Saturday night for their fifth straight victory.
"I think we're playing with the right spirit right now, the right intensity," Paul said. "The right intensity. It's a good win for us, but with us it's all about consistency. We've been so up and down over the season."
DeAndre Jordan added 17 points and 17 rebounds to help Los Angeles preserve its hopes of hosting a first-round playoff series.
Los Angeles is tied with Utah for the fourth seed and homecourt in the first-round series between the two. The Jazz lost at Portland on Saturday night.
"If we win our games and they win their games, then (games) 1 and 2 are going to be in Utah and we're fine with that," said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who tied the franchise record for career regular-season victories with 215. "We'd love to have it at home, but if we don't have it at home, we don't have it at home. This team is not a young team, they are mature enough to go on the road and win basketball games."
The Clippers demonstrated that by handing the Spurs just their 10th loss at the AT&T Center this season in their final home game.
San Antonio is playing out the regular season after securing the No. 2 seed and first-round matchup against seventh-seeded Memphis.
While the Spurs' seeding is secure, they are trying to enter the playoffs playing sound defensively and that wasn't the case Saturday night.
Los Angeles committed only eight turnovers and shot 50 percent from the field. San Antonio had been holding opponents to 44 percent shooting and forcing 14.2 turnovers per game.
"Our execution at both ends, defensively and offensively, was really poor," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "So, I'm very disappointed in that, and I'm looking forward to the next two games."
Kawhi Leonard had 28 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points for San Antonio.
The Clippers went on an 8-0 run after the Spurs cut the lead to 72-68 on Leonard's 15-footer. Los Angeles would take an 82-70 lead into the fourth quarter in a physical matchup between postseason-bound teams.
"I thought defensively at the beginning of the season is really what set us apart," said Blake Griffin, who had 18 points. "We've been better this stretch, but we can still be better."
The Spurs were 8 for 22 on 3-pointers and committed 14 turnovers, which led to 13 points.
Clippers: The Clippers were 3-1 against San Antonio this season. . Reserve guard Austin Rivers has missed four straight games with a strained left hamstring. . Los Angeles is 23-13 against teams with winning records this season. ... Reserve center Diamond Stone sat out because of soreness in his left knee. He has missed 24 games with a bruised bone in his left knee. ... The Clippers have limited Leonard to 13.7 points in 55 career games, his lowest average against any team in the league.
Spurs: Starting guard Danny Green was running and shooting without discomfort prior to the game after missing five straight games with a bruised left quadriceps. Green is expected to play in the team's final two games. "Danny's going to be OK, I'm just keeping him out another night, just to be sure," Popovich said. ... Leonard has scored in double figures in 106 straight games. ... San Antonio completed the regular season with a 31-10 home record after matching a league record with a 40-1 mark last season. ... Rookie guard Dejounte Murray has missed 16 straight games with an injured groin, but could play in the next game or two, Popovich said.
Popovich said he will not rest anyone as the Spurs close out the regular season in Portland and Utah.
"Nobody's going to rest, everybody's going to play," Popovich said. "We already rested everybody, and we have days in between now. It's like the playoffs kind of."
HAPPY FOR DOC
Rivers tied Mike Dunleavy for the Clippers franchise record with his 215th regular-season victory. While the team is focused on the playoffs, Paul was happy to learn Rivers had achieved that milestone.
"He means a lot, everything to this franchise," Paul said. "Ever since he's been here, we've had a one-track mind and that's all about the playoffs and that mentality and having a playoff intensity type practice every day even in training camp. That says a lot for how many games we've won (under Rivers)."
Rivers said the Spurs upcoming playoff series against Memphis should be another grinding, defensive showdown between the teams even though the Grizzlies have opened up their offense by shooting more 3s.
"It's like the wolf in sheep's clothing," Rivers said. "At the end of the game, they try to punch you in the mouth and beat you up. It's funny, when we played them, they started the game out shooting 3s and by the end they are grabbing you and knocking you down. They're different, but you better remember who they are."
Clippers: Host Houston on Monday night.
Spurs: At Portland on Monday night.