(13-6) That is the record the Los Angeles Clippers currently have without Chris Paul and the hope is that number won’t budge in the win or loss category. CP3 has missed nineteen games with a shoulder injury, but the All-Star point guard hopes to make his return tomorrow as the Clippers will host the Philadelphia 76ers in their penultimate game before the All-Star break. He will be needed to defend the talented Michael Carter-Williams who has also been battling a shoulder injury lately.
LAC head man Doc Rivers told the media there is a “50-50” chance Chris will participate in tomorrow night’s contest, although Paul has had sites set on returning to action tomorrow night. I expect him to play, because surely Doc knows when his point guard has a goal he usually attains it.
The Clippers got win number thirteen last night without Paul as Blake Griffin became the first player in Clippers history to score at least 30 points in three straight games. Griffin scored 36 points on (13-18) shooting from the field and (10-13) from the stripe as the Clips topped the Toronto Raptors for the second time in the last two weeks by a count of 118-105.
The visitors decided to play Hack-a-Jordan causing shooting coaches across America to cringe as Jordan racked up 22 attempts from the free throw line and connecting on just 10 of them. By the way, ESPN’s J.A. Adande wrote a fantastic piece this morning asking the NBA to remove these silly intentional fouls as it ruins the flow of the game and ultimately detracting from the quality of the product. Jordan finished with 18 points and 13 boards.
Demar DeRozan scored 36 for the Raptors, re-affirming the fact that the Clippers need help at the two guard position defensively. I love JJ Reddick and Jamal Crawford, but Reddick is average at best and Jamal Crawford can’t stop me from scoring, so the Clippers need to make some personal changes. Those guys need to keep their minutes, and with the recent benching of Jared Dudley I believe the Clippers split minutes between Matt Barnes, Dudley, and REGGIE BULLOCK!!!!!
It’s been a while, but my campaign to get Reggie Bullock more action is back on track. Naturally, Barnes should get most of the minutes, but Dudley and Bullock should split time and eventually I’d like to see Bullock a lot more because let’s face it, with one of the most efficient offenses in the league the Clippers don’t need all five players on the floor to be major scoring threats. With as bad as the defense has been on the wings, Bullock’s length and athleticism can slow down the incandescent scoring of opposing perimeter players.
The Clippers will need to finish strong these last two games as they currently sit fourth in the Western Conference playoff standings. With the much anticipated return of Chris Paul, and the much needed All Star break less then a week away, the Clips need to get healthy, DeAndre needs to shoot some free throws, and the team needs to collectively prepare themselves to make a run at a top three seed in the conference as the Portland Trailblazers are only a game and a half ahead with the final 3rd of the season to play.