Clippers’ playoff hopes appear crushed with loss of their two stars

Clippers Trail Blazers Basketball

With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin out, DeAndre Jordan will have to step up in Game 5 on Wednesday at Staples Center/AP photo by Craig Mitchelldyer


Clippers coach Doc Rivers was not in a good mood late Monday night. No one could blame him. As  he sat on the dais addressing reporters following his team’s 98-84 loss at Portland in Game 4 that ended up being an absolutely disastrous night, Rivers was asked if he had concern that the Trail Blazers had wrested momentum away from the Clippers with their back-to-back wins at Moda Center in Portland, which tied the first-round playoff series 2-2.

Rivers was terse, but respectful, in his response.

“We’re going home,” Rivers said, referring to Game 5 on Wednesday night at Staples Center. “All they’ve done is win two games at home, just like we won two games at home. We’ve been in adverse situations all year with guys out, but guys have come through and I expect us to do that at our place.”

This is exactly what Rivers should say. As a leader, he has to exude confidence, regardless of the situation. That’s why he’s considered to be a strong leader of men.

Still, it’s going to be tough now for the Clippers to accomplish anything real good in the playoffs. As we all know, power forward Blake Griffin has been deemed out of the playoffs by the team because of his still-partially torn left quad tendon that was aggravated in Game 4. Point guard Chris Paul is out indefinitely after having surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured third metacarpal in his right hand, an injury also sustained Monday. This news came Tuesday, the day after Rivers made the aforementioned comment. But Rivers knew it was going to be bad news. His face showed it.

The word “indefinitely” comes from a Clippers news release. Basically, it’s a 4 to 6 weeks thing. That means if the Clippers were to win this series, beat Golden State in the conference semifinals and either San Antonio or Oklahoma City in the finals to reach the NBA Finals without Paul and Griffin, Paul could possibly come back.

Well, chances of that happening with the two best players on the team out, are about slim and none. What’s a shame for the Clippers and their fans is they looked so good the first two games of this series. There had to be hope they could give the Warriors at least a fight next round – especially now that MVP Steph Curry will likely miss the first few games because of a sprained knee.

One thing’s for sure, it will be interesting to see how the Clippers come out in Wednesday’s game. Are they broken? We’ll see.




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.

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.

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.

Doc Rivers not sure if DeAndre Jordan’s poor free-throw shooting is in the front of Jordan’s mind

DeAndre Jordan/AP file photo by Jae C. Hong


DeAndre Jordan made only 35.2 percent (12 of 34) of his free throws during the first three games of the Clippers’ first-round playoff series against Portland, which continues Monday night at Moda Center in Portland; the Clippers lead 2-1.

The poor free-throw shooting Jordan has admitted in the past that sometimes it gets in his head. Considering he shot just 43 percent this season and has shot 42.1 percent over his seven-year career, that’s understandable.

Coach Doc Rivers said at the morning shootaround he isn’t sure if that’s happening now.

“I don’t know if it’s in his head or not,” he said. “But I keep saying for him, every game is individual. You’ve seen games down the stretch he’ll make four in a row, where he’s missed nine straight. I wish I had a crystal ball because I literally don’t know going into the game. One thing I do like, he’s still working on them, he’s watching film of his free throws. I mean, he’s doing all the preparation that a good free-throw shooter would do – actually, a good free-throw shooter wouldn’t do because you wouldn’t have to, you know, when you think about it.

“But he’s doing all the right stuff and for me that’s all I can ask as a coach is that he prepares and (does) the right thing.”

Jordan said this is not in the front of his mind.

“No, I mean, I’m fine. It was only tough because we lost,  you know what I mean?” he said of the Clippers’  96-88 Game 3 loss in which he shot just 3 of 10 from the line. “If we would have won, it wouldn’t have been a problem.”

Warriors’ Steph Curry has Grade 1 MCL sprain and will be re-evaluated in two weeks

Stephen Curry

Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is helped off the court after sustaining a knee sprain Sunday during the second quarter of the Warriors’  121-94 victory over the Houston Rockets/AP photo by David Phillip


If the Clippers get past Portland in their first-round playoff series, they would likely play the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals. Some of that series could be played without reigning MVP Steph Curry. The Warriors’ guard on Monday was diagnosed with a Grade 1 MCL sprain, an injury sustained Sunday during the second quarter of Golden State’s 121-94 victory at Houston in Game 4 of their series; the Warriors lead 3-1.

This is the release posted on Golden State’s website: Warriors guard Stephen Curry underwent an MRI this morning that revealed a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his right knee. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Curry suffered the injury on the last play of the first half of Game 4 last night at Houston and was diagnosed with a sprained right knee by the team’s medical staff on site.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters at the morning shootaround ahead of Monday night’s Game 4 at Portland that he didn’t realize Curry could be seriously injured; this was before news came of the diagnosis.

“I don’t want anyone to get injured, ever, so I hope he’s healthy,” Rivers said.

The Clippers lead their series with Portland 2-1.