The Los Angeles Clippers have found success in the absence of Chris Paul thanks to the increased contributions of Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford, and DEANDRE JORDAN! Yes the leagues leading rebounder is beginning to assert himself offensively, defensively, as well as on the boards. This timely contribution has helped the Clippers get off to an 2-1 start on their east coast road swing.
With Paul’s injuries, the Clippers knew it had to be next man up, and the apparent development of Jordan’s all around game has lent itself nicely to this next man up mentality. In the first three games of this road swing Jordan has tallied three double doubles, including a 16 point 21 rebound 4 block performance in a 112-103 victory over the Detroit Pistons yesterday. It will be crucial Jordan continues this level of play because his next two match ups are Al Jefferson and Joakim Noah.
Jamal Crawford has caught fire in the last three games averaging close to 26 points per game in those contest, and lead all scorers in their loss to the Clips 106-92 loss at Indiana on Saturday night. Crawford’s impressive performance came against arguably the leagues best defender at the two guard position in Lance Stephenson. By the way, put that guy in the all star game, he is a triple double machine and a lock for the most improved player at the end of the season. Back to Crawford, I think he continues to help carry the offensive load, especially against the Charlotte Bobcats who have had their struggles regarding defensive guard play this season.
But not all has been positive on the Clippers road venture, Jared Dudley’s ineffectiveness on both sides of the court have become incredibly noticeable and have proved to be problematic in on the road trip thus far.
Giving up 36 points to Paul George when your primary task is stopping him is completely unacceptable. There has been a noticeable drop-off in his statistical output this year compared to his career numbers including a career worst free throw percentage, steals, and rebounds. When the Clippers traded Caron Butler they were hoping for a defensive upgrade at the small forward position, which they got in Dudley. The Clippers can handle his offensive inconsistency as long as he produces on the defensive end, but as of late Dudley has not been holding up his side of the bargain on the defensive end. In this adverse time for the Clippers where role player offensive production needs to be heightened, Dudley has been a let down as well scoring over 10 points only twice in the nine games LAC has played without CP3. He has not broken double digits thus far on the road trip, but luckily for him his teammates have picked up the slack.
The reason the Clippers signed veteran Hedo Turkoglu for the rest of the season was to provide a bit of help at the small forward as Reggie Bullock is currently injured. With the road trip off to a 2-1 start, the Clippers will continue to rely on the consistently effective play of Darren Collison, Blake Griffin, and JJ Reddick, but the key to finishing this road trip strong will be the contributions offered by Los Angeles’ role players.