The Clippers were in line for the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs before Sunday's game against Detroit and had been a steady presence in the third spot until Memphis sneaked into third.

Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro certainly is aware of the trend and its implications.

"Yeah, you look at (seeds). I do," Del Negro said. "But there's still a lot of basketball. There's a lot of tough games coming up. There's no easy games. Everyone's vying for position. You have to play well, win games and control your destiny, and we do right now.

"We have to start playing better. I don't think we've played well in a while."

The Clippers played a poor second half in a 107-92 loss in Denver on Thursday in a back-to-back situation, but the Nuggets have lost just three home games all season. Still, this is the time of year for improvement, not backpedaling.

"I don't think our defensive intensity is where it needs to be, and our offensive execution overall, whatever the stats are out there ...," Del Negro said. "I always talk about trusting your eyes, and when you know it looks right and guys are getting after it, good things happen.

"We've got to get that edge back."

Del Negro doesn't believe the Clippers are wilting under the hype as teams approach the posteason and jockey for seeds. He likes this team, but the Clippers must change their recent ways, and one solution is intensity on defense.