Five things to take from Clippers’ 98-84 loss to Trail Blazers

Clippers Trail Blazers Basketball

Chris Paul, left, is chased down by Maurice Harkless of the Trail Blazers during the first half of Monday’s Game 4 at Portland/AP photo by Criag Mitchelldyer

 

Chris Paul, the Clippers’ best player, sustained a fracture of the third metacarpal of his right hand. There is no definitive word as of yet, but Paul is likely done for the playoffs. “He’s going to get it evaluated tomorrow, but it obviously doesn’t look very good for him,” coach Doc Rivers said post-game.

– That’s not to mention that Blake Griffin was unable to play down the stretch because his left quad tendon, which is still partially torn, began acting up again. Rivers at first said, “It doesn’t look great for him, either,” Rivers a minute later said he would guess that Griffin might be 50-50 for Game 5 on Wednesday at Staples Center. The series is tied 2-2.

– There’s more. J.J. Redick, who is fighting a sore left heel, shot 3 of 13 (for eight points) after shooting 2 of 10 in Game 3. He told reporters at the morning shootaround that the only way it’s going to get better is if he stays in bed for two weeks. He said it’s going to bother him as long as the team is in the playoffs.

– Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum were the difference in Portland’s Game 3 victory. But they were not overwhelming in this one. McCollum had a nice game with 19 points on 6 of 13 shooting, Lillard scored just 12 points on 4 of 15 from the field. Instead, it was forward Al-Farouq Aminu who did in the Clippers with 30 points on 11 of 20 shooting – 6 of 10 from 3-point range.

– There was one bit of good news for the Clippers. Reserve forward Jeff Green had his best game of the post-season. He scored 17 points on 5 of 10 shooting – 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. He also had five rebounds.

BONUS TAKE: The Clippers shot just 35.7 percent from the field – 28 percent (7of 25) from distance.

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Clippers crestfallen after losing Chris Paul to fractured hand in Game 4

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

To say Clippers coach Doc Rivers and his players were bummed out following Monday’s 98-84 Game 4 loss to the host Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center, would be putting it mildly.

Not only the the Trail Blazers tie the series 2-2 with Game 5 on Wednesday night at Staples Center, the Clippers lost Chris Paul – probably for the series and maybe for the season – when Paul sustained a fracture of the third metacarpal in his right hand during the third quarter.

It happened when Paul was guarding Portland’s Gerald Henderson.

“Well, I didn’t see the play, I just know he fractured his hand,” Rivers said, glumly. “He’s going to get it evaluated tomorrow, but it obviously doesn’t look very good for him.”

That’s not all. Blake Griffin’s partially torn quad tendon is acting up again, and he wasn’t able to play down the stretch.

“It doesn’t look great for him, either,” Rivers said. “We’ll see about it tomorrow.”

He said Griffin felt it when he planted on the leg.

“We’re not sure with Blake yet,” Rivers said. “I think he’ll get evaluted tomorrow when we get back. I would say 50-50 on the next game with him. I expect him to be back, but we don’t know that yet. So I don’t want to say much.”

Griffin was asked post-game if he thinks he’ll play Wednesday.

“Tomorrow, I think, we’ll take a better look and go from there.”

The biggest concern was Paul. He has easily been the best player on the team this season, and was having a fine series. Griffin said he spoke with Paul before Paul left Moda Center.

“Yeah, I talked to him,” Griffin said. “I mean, he’s clearly disappointed, upset. But there’s nothing you can do. You try to tell a guy like that that, you know, ‘It’s OK, we got you and it’s going to be OK,’ but he’s a competitor and he wants to play, so it’s tough.

“It’s not easy dealing with injuries, especially this time of the year, so as his teammates we’ll always have his back and we’ll go from there.”

Sixth-man Jamal Crawford spoke in soft tones when assessing the loss of Paul.

“Major, major blow,” he said. “I just feel bad for him personally because I know how much he puts into the game and how much he gives himself to the team. We get Blake back,lose Chris. Tough, tough deal.”

Griffin missed 45 consecutive games with the quad injury, a fractured right hand and four-game suspension before playing in five of the final seven regular-season games.

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Chris Paul suffers fracture of third metacarpal in right hand at Portland

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

Any chance the Clippers had of advancing deep into the playoffs took a bit hit Monday when point guard Chris Paul suffered a third metacarpal fracture in his right hand during the third quarter of Game 4 of the Clippers’ first-round playoff series at Portland on Monday night.

Paul scored 16 points and doled our four assists before the injury.

The Clippers took a 2-1 series lead into the game.

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VIDEO: DeAndre Jordan air-balls back-to-back free throws in 1st half

DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers had struggled more than usual during the first three games of the Clippers’ first-round playoff series against Portland; he was shooting 35.2 percent (12 of 34). He missed all four of his attempts during the first half of Game 4 on Monday at Portland. Included were these back-to-back air balls that got a real charge out of the host Trail Blazers’ fans. Check it out:

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Trail Blazers lead Clippers 47-43 after awful first half by both teams

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

In a rather awful half of basketball, the Portland Trail Blazers took a lead of 47-43 over the Clippers into the break Monday night in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series at Moda Center in Portland.

Chris Paul scored the Clippers’ first 12 points. No other player on the team scored until Jeff Green made the second of two free throws with 2:07 left in the first quarter. Paul led the Clippers with 14 points.

J.J. Redick missed his first six shots and finished with three points on 1 of 7. Blake Griffin also started slowly and ended up with seven points and five rebounds and Green and Jamal Crawford scored 10 and seven points off the bench, respectively.

Al-Farouq Aminu led the Trail Blazers with 13 points, Damian Lillard had nine, Maurice Harkless six, Allen Crabbe six and C.J. McCollum five.

The Clippers shot 33.3 percent from the field, Portland shot 35.7 percent. The Trail Blazers also committed 12 turnovers, quite a bit for a half.

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Doc Rivers not thinking about Steph Curry missing two weeks, not with Portland still in the mix

Stephen Curry

Steph Curry of Golden State will miss at least two weeks with a sprained right knee/AP photo by David Phillip

 

The NBA sent out a news release Monday regarding the schedule for the Western Conference semifinals. It says that if the Clippers-Trail Blazers and Golden State-Houston first-round series end in six games or less, the semifinals will start May 1. If either series goes seven games, they will begin May 3.

That means that, either way, Steph Curry of Golden State figures to miss the at least the beginning of the semifinals because he will out at least two weeks with a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his right knee, an injury sustained Sunday in Houston.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was asked Monday night before his team was to take on the Trail Blazers in Game 4 of their series if it is hard not to do the math on that even though his team is currently dealing with Portland.

“No, it’s pretty easy for me not to do the math,” Rivers said. “We have (Portland’s) Damian Lillard and (C.J.) McCollum in front of us right now, so that math is easy for me. It’s a 2-1 series. … I don’t look that far ahead. I think that would be a foolish thing to do.”

The Warriors lead their series with Houston 3-1.

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