Chris Paul is averaging 16.8 points, 9.7 assists and 2.4 steals per game… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)
It was only a matter of time, but the Clippers (48-22) locked in a higher playoff seeding than the Lakers (36-34) with their 101-95 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday.
Both teams have 12 games left to play in the regular season. If the Lakers win them all with the Clippers losing 12 straight -- neither will happen, of course -- the teams would finish tied with 48 wins on the season. The Clippers have already earned the head-to-head tiebreaker by winning the season series against the Lakers, 3-0, with one game left to play.
It's inevitable that the Clippers finish atop the Pacific Division, 8 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Golden State Warriors (40-31).
There is one remaining scenario left that would have the Lakers winning the Pacific. If the Lakers, Clippers and Warriors all finish with 48-34 records, including the Lakers beating the Clippers and Warriors in their final meetings this season, the Lakers would hold the three-team tiebreaker.
Of course, it's not going to happen, but the Lakers would have a 5-3 record against the Warriors and Clippers combined, ahead of the Clippers, who would finish 4-4 in the three-team battle.
The Lakers still have a chance to catch the Warriors, but that would all but require the Lakers to sweep the final two meetings, starting Monday night at Golden State.
Trevor Ariza bests his former teammate Kobe Bryant
Lakers fall apart in second half of 103-100 loss to Wizards
The Lakers' rotation is starting to take shape, despite injuries
Email Eric Pincus at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.