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first_imgThe Clippers were 12-5 ahead of Wednesday night’s game against the visiting Orlando Magic and had won five consecutive games. Their record was good enough for seventh in the standings. If they were the East, they’d be in second.Paul is in his 10th season, all in the West. He agreed this could be the toughest the conference has been during his time in the league.“Maybe, I guess time will tell,” he said. “My third year in the league was pretty crazy. That’s when Houston won 20-some games in a row, and they might have only moved up two spots (in the standings).”Houston won 22 games in a row during the 2007-08 campaign. The Rockets finished fifth in the conference standings.Bottom line is, the West being so tough makes its teams realize that they have to be at the top of their game, night in and night out. Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan both appeared a bit stunned Wednesday morning when told that the top eight teams in the Western Conference had won a combined 36 consecutive games heading into action that night.“I didn’t know that,” said Paul, point guard for the Clippers. “But it’s tough, man. The West is tough.”“Yeah, that’s nuts,” said Jordan, the Clippers’ 6-foot-11 post. “It shows everybody is starting to hit their stride a little bit.”Memphis and Golden State were tied atop the conference at 15-2. Memphis had won five in a row, Golden State 10. “Yeah, we know that for sure,” Paul said at the morning shootaround. “We knew that last year … so tonight’s a big game for us. Every night is; you can’t afford to take nights off.”Jordan echoed that sentiment.“Everybody in the West is playing great,” he said. “Some teams have some injuries, so you know they’re going to be a lot better. But I feel like we’re playing well as of late. We’ve just gotta keep it going.”Coach chimes inClippers coach Doc Rivers also realizes that a mental lapse or two could cost his team positions in the standings and, for the playoffs, that’s huge. But he also knows that, like it or not, they are going to happen.“You’re going to have them,” he said, “so you just don’t want to have as many as the other teams, I guess. Listen, no one’s going to be perfect. There are going to be games you’re going to regret, you know that going into it. But in the West, it could cost you. … But I guarantee you that team that is in front or behind, they had a couple of them, too, you know what I’m saying?“I think the way it’s going, it’s going to be that close. You could be a 2 seed or an 8 seed and it could be a one-win difference and that’s just the way it may be and that’s fine.”Rivers was queried as to whether he finds that scary or exciting.“That’s scary,” he said. “I don’t see anything exciting about that.” At No. 7, the Clippers were three games behind Memphis and Golden State.Praise for JordanPaul was asked to talk about what Jordan is doing for the team this season. Jordan is averaging 11.6 rebounds and 2.35 blocks. Paul said it’s more than that.“He does all the things for us on any given night that don’t show up on the stat sheets,” he said. “I think he’s the most athletic center to ever play the game. There are not too many people that athletic that are that big at that height, so it’s a luxury for us.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more