Damian Lillard of Portland goes up for a shot over the Clippers’ J.J. Redick during Monday’s Game 4 at Portland, won by the Trail Blazers 98-84/AP photo by Craig Mitchelldyer
Things just got a whole lot easier for the backcourt of the Portland Trail Blazers, what with Clippers’ star point guard Chris Paul being out indefinitely after having surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured third metacarpal on his right hand. Portland’s Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are the beneficiaries.
“I mean, it changes a lot,” Lillard said late Monday after his team tied the Clippers 2-2 in their first-round playoff series with a 98-84 victory at Moda Center in Portland; Paul’s injury was sustained in the third quarter. “More so for them as far as what they’ll have to do. When your bast player goes down, a guy that makes your team go … it’s unfortunate for one of the better players in the league to go through an injury like that, first of all. You don’t wish that on anybody. It’s a part of the game.”
Lillard went on to say that the Clippers have still have good players, but this was before it was announced Tuesday that Blake Griffin is out for the rest of the playoffs after aggravating his partially torn left quad tendon in Monday’s loss. Paul is to miss an expected four to six weeks, which means he’s done unless the Clippers advance to the NBA Finals.
Either way, Lillard said his team can’t take its foot off the gas.
“For us, our mindset has to be nothing changes,” he said. “We’ve got to have the same approach defensively and we’ve got to continue to trust each other offensively and try to just continue to overwhelm them that way.”