Griffin’s been out since partially tearing his left quadricep tendon in a Christmas Day win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Griffin was expected back sooner until he added fractured right hand a month later punching a Clippers assistant equipment manager outside of a Toronto restaurant.
Since first being sidelined, the Clippers have posted an impressive 26 and 14 record without Griffin. That’s great for a bench that’s gotten extended playing time because of the adjustments being made without Griffin.
The team’s efficiency on both sides of the ball without Griffin has it in the top ten in the league based on 100 possessions per game.
The Clippers rank seventh in the league in offensive efficiency scoring 108 points per game, fifth in the league in defensive efficiency holding opponents to 102.2 points per game.
That puts the Clippers at an impressive fifth overall in the league at plus 5.8 points per game versus the rest of the league.
Including Friday’s game with the Trail Blazers, the Clippers have 12 regular season games remaining and are, at this point, locked in as the fourth overall seed in the Western Conference with home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs basically assured.
So, when is Griffin coming back? The hand is healed so the quad is still what’s keeping him out.
He still has to sit out a four game suspension handed down by the league for the altercation in Toronto which means if he’s to get some playing time to get acclimated to the team and vice versa before the playoffs, it seems imperative he gets back in the lineup in the next ten days.
Rivers answers questions involving Blake’s health and imminent return in the video provided which also shows Griffin working out prior to the Portland game with one of Doc’s assistants, Dave Severns.
The Los Angeles Clippers (43-26) will try to salvage the fourth and last regular season game against the defending world champion Golden State Warriors (63-7) this season when the rivals meet Wednesday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The Warriors have won the last eight regular season meetings between the two pacific division foes.
In the three prior meetings this season, the Clippers held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of first two games before falling to the Warriors and rallied in the last meeting from a double-digit fourth quarter deficit that fell short on a last second heave by C.J. Wilcox to send the game into overtime.
According to the Clippers – who continue to play without injured Blake Griffin – a win over the Warriors Wednesday will be just that. A win.
However, it would still go a long way in the confidence department if the Clippers could come out with a win.
With just 13 games remaining in the regular season for the Clippers, it’s important to remember they’re the last team to beat the Warriors in a seven game playoff series two seasons ago.
Before Tuesday’s practice, I discussed that with head coach Doc Rivers and all-star point guard Chris Paul.
Traveling across country is always a difficult proposition for anyone. Especially for professional athletes – let’s say like a basketball team.
Thanks to the Disney On Ice holiday extravaganza taking over Staples Center the first two weeks of December, the Los Angeles Clippers took to the road for an east coast swing where they were able to win four out of the seven games on the roadie.
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After losing the season-opener to the corridor-rival Los Angeles Lakers the Los Angeles Clippers have reeled off two straight wins and look to get a third tonight when they host ex-Laker Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets (3-0).
It’s Howard’s first visit to Staples Center since leaving the Lakers. He’s averaging 15 points, 17 rebounds and two blocked shots per game for the Rockets.
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Scott’s one of the hottest coaching commodities with prime jobs like the Cleveland Cavaliers bench spot open. With Michigan St. coach Tom Izzo deciding to decline the Cavs offer, Scott’s the prime target in Cleveland. The job’s his if he wants it. He’s decided to wait to see what Jackson decides next week. If the Lakers job is available, Scott will want it. That’s assuming one of Jackson’s current assistants, namely former Lakers guard Brian Shaw, isn’t promoted to the top spot.
Mega-free agent LeBron James could be persuaded to remain with the Cavaliers if they hire Byron Scott. LeBron likes the fact Scott’s been a part of seven NBA finals either as a player or coach. Scott commands respect among players for the simple fact he IS one.
So, it’s up to Jackson. If he comes back for the fourth, three-peat, Scott’s headed to Cleveland with the good possibility LeBron stays. Jackson retires, Scott’s on the Lakers bench with Cleveland back at square one and LeBron entertaining offers from the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, New Jersey and the L.A. Clippers.
…………and there go those dominoes……………
So, with all this on the NBA horizon, gives me a good moment to reflect on last week’s championship game between the NBA’s two most storied franchises.
That was, truly, the best pro basketball game I’ve seen in some time. If nothing else but for the simple fact that it was a game 7 showdown between the Boston Celtics and the, now, two-time defending World Champion Los Angeles Lakers.
It helped they have that finals history going against each other for all the marbles for the 12th time and extending to a game 7 in five of those with the Celtics taking the first four prior to last Thursday’s break-through for the repeat championship by the Lakers at Staples Center, 83-79.
As good as the game was between the two Finals rivals, there’s still no way the series should’ve gone the distance. The Lakers, clearly, were the better team even without 7-foot center Andrew Bynum at full strength. Should’ve been done in five.
Speaking of game five, and backing up my point, the Celtics held the Lakers to 39% shooting for the game while themselves filling it up at a 56% clip, yet were fortunate to come away with a 92-86 win. Same deal in game four.
Down 3-2 and facing elimination, the Lakers just smeared the Celtics in game six at Staples, 89-67. Huge turning point. Celtics lost center Kendrick Perkins to torn knee ligaments early in the first quarter with game 7 looming.
So, that set up the deciding game with Perkins missing from the Celtics line-up and Bynum really ineffective at this point although he did average nine points and seven boards in the series. Pretty good for a guy playing with a knee tear. By the way, for all you Celtic fans who claim an 18th title didn’t happen because Perkins went down, it can be argued had Bynum been 100%, the Lakers might’ve swept the Celtics.
This series was all about the defense and you’ve got to give it up to both Celtics coach Doc Rivers and Jackson for making the proper adjustments to go for the championship. Game 7 looked more like an NCAA elite eight battle with both teams playing text-book defense. Couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
For three quarters, the Celtics, with that “nothing to lose so let’s go for it” attitude, looked as if they were going to script another disastrous game 7 ending for the Lakers at home against Boston.
Problem for the Celtics, the Lakers dominated the boards. Bryant himself had 15. So, although they couldn’t score, the Lakers got plenty of second-chance opportunities they converted keeping them in the game.
If you’re a Boston fan, you hated it, which is understandable. If you’re Lakers fan you, obviously, loved it. If you’re a basketball junkie, you had to have been impressed by it for the simple fact they usually don’t play like that in an NBA game.
Plenty were complaining because of the lack of offense in the game. That’s what happens when both teams play good defense adjusting on the fly and one team dominates the glass. Remember what coaching icon Pat Riley likes to say.