Clippers still smarting from loss as Wizards visit

LOS ANGELES -- Clippers coach Doc Rivers called Los Angeles' defeat to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday one of his worst regular-season setbacks.

"Oh, that was a hard loss," Rivers told on Tuesday. "But again, I've had a lot of them. I've had a lot of great wins and I've had a lot of bad losses, but as far as regular-season losses, that ranks up there as one of the (worst). Still doesn't matter one way or another, it's a game you should've won and we didn't win."

The Clippers (44-31) will try to bounce back Wednesday when they play the Washington Wizards (46-28) at Staples Center. Los Angeles has captured eight straight home wins over Washington and 13 of the past 16 meetings overall.

The Clippers blew an 18-point lead in the final five minutes against the Kings. Sacramento center Willie Cauley-Stein scored on a put-back of a runner by Ben McLemore with 1.8 seconds remaining to give the visitors a stunning 98-97 win.

Chris Paul had a chance to bail the Clippers out, but his shot just before the final horn missed.

"We've got to work on execution offensively and defensively," Paul said, according to the club's website. "You hate that it's this late in the season, but we're one of those teams that can get it right. We've just got to build that trust. If we can build that trust on the offensive end, but especially on the defensive end where we need it the most, then we'll be OK."

The Clippers are 1 1/2 games behind the Utah Jazz for the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The fifth-seeded Clippers lead the No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder by a game.

Washington celebrated its first division title in 39 years on Tuesday night by rallying for a 119-108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. John Wall led the way with 34 points, 20 in the second half, and 14 assists.

The win kept Washington two games behind the Boston Celtics and 1 1/2 behind the Cleveland Cavaliers in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

"The next goal is to get 50 wins, and there are a bunch of things we are trying to accomplish, and we know (for) the fans that's something they want and that's something that they deserve," said Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who scored 16 points against the Lakers. "They've been looking forward to a good team in the city for a long time, and we've put that together."

Wall, averaging 23 points per game and 10.8 assists (second in the NBA behind James Harden), is a major reason the Wizards are one of the top teams in the East.

"I think I'm having a great year scoring-wise, but the way I'm playing I think I've been playing this way the last couple of years," Wall said. "It's just you're winning. You're in the race for being one of the top three seeds, and it makes a big difference. Like I always say, you get more recognition when you're winning."

The Wizards defeated the Clippers 117-110 in their last meeting on Dec. 12 at Verizon Center. Beal scored 41 points in the win. Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 26 points.
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