April 26, 2016
Seems that the departure of Donald Sterling has not completely eradicated the curse that has plagued the Los Angeles Clippers franchise since 1984, as the team announced today that their two best players will probably miss the remainder of the 2016 playoffs.
Forward Blake Griffin will miss the remainder of the 2016 NBA Playoffs after aggravating the injury to his left quad tendon last night in Game 4. Griffin underwent an MRI this morning that revealed no further structural damage, and the five-time NBA All-Star will be ready for the start of 2016-17 training camp.
Griffin originally injured the quad on December 25th in a game against the Lakers and missed 41 games this season due to the injury.
To make matters worse, guard Chris Paul underwent surgery this morning in Los Angeles to repair a right hand fracture suffered in the third quarter of last night’s game against Portland. Dr. Steve Shin performed the operation and Paul will be out indefinitely.
Assuming Paul will not be able to return, the loss of these two All-Stars will likely kill the team's title hopes this season, as the Clippers will be losing a significant amount of production from their lineup.
In four playoff games, Griffin averaged 15.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists. In the regular season he averaged 21.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 35 games (all starts) for the Clippers.
In four playoff games, Paul averaged 23.8 points, 7.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals. The All-Star point guard averaged 19.5 points 10.0 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 74 regular season games (all starts) for the Clippers.
Now with both players out, the Clippers will need to rely on their backcourt of Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick to carry the offensive load. Unfortunately, the sharpshooting Redick is nursing a bad heel himself and has struggled in the series.
If Redick can't deliver, Jeff Green, Austin Rivers, or veteran Paul Pierce could also help with the scoring load.
But perhaps it is time for center DeAndre Jordan to prove he is worth his big free agent deal this summer. Jordan has been productive on the glass and a defensive force in the paint, but when his team really needs him, does he have the capacity to score on the block and command double teams to free up his teammates?
Even if he could, it still might be too little, too late, in the end.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services