The Los Angeles Clippers have had a rough week. On Thursday they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-94 in dramatic fashion. They were dished out five technical in that game, three in a 52 second span. Chris Paul has been fined $25,000 for his comments against the female referee who delivered them. Worst of all, Blake Griffin will likely miss four to six weeks after needing surgery for a staph infection. With all this trouble, the Los Angeles Clippers may just miss the playoffs.
While the team is hopeful that Blake may be out just two weeks, he may be sidelined as many as six weeks. he’s averaging a team leading 22.5 points per game, along with 7.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists. The latter is a career high. With Griffin playing so well this year, the Clippers will certainly miss him however long he’s out.
The Los Angeles Clippers’ playoff hopes then, are in question. Already on a three game losing streak before losing Griffin, they were handed their worst lost of the season last night to the Thunder. Sure, the loss came against a Thunder team firing on all cylinders, but any loss at this point hurts their chances of making the playoffs. Continue losing like that, the Los Angeles Clippers may miss the playoffs altogether.
Worse, their injury issues do not begin and end with Giffin. Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis went down with back spasms in the loss to the Thunder. That leaves them with Spencer Haws as one of the only big men left on the roster.
Coach Doc Rivers isn’t worried yet though. He’s a champion who knows hard times come. Of their situation he said, “I don’t feel sorry for us. You got to just figure it out and keep playing.” Fans of one of the leagues most historically injured teams are likely feeling sorry though.
With so many technical fouls, the players themselves may be feeling sorry for the team. Matt Barnes got ejected from the Cavs game after a second technical for remarking “Don’t give them the game.” While the ref may have been quick to call a technical, that statement reveals Matt’s frustration. Chris Paul’s comments about the referee after the game reveals his frustration as well. It is not a far cry to assume these outbursts are part of an internal team frustration.
Despite all this trouble, there were a few hopeful signs to take from the resounding loss to the Thunder. Jamal Crawford scored 21 and Chris Paul had 18 and 13 assists. Spencer Haws, starting in Griffin’s absence, scored 17. The problem then, was rebounding and defense. They were out rebounded 54-29 and allowed the high-powered Thunder to score 131 points.
The Los Angeles Clippers are by no means a perfect team, but with the Lakers down and out, they are LA’s best. Blake’s injury is just another blow to the city’s chances of seeing a local team play past mid April this year. Unless Spencer Haws can step up, Chris Paul plays out of his mind and the team channels their frustrations in a positive way The Clippers will be in a lot of trouble. As it looks now, the Los Angeles Clippers may very well miss the playoffs.
Photo Courtesy of Keith Allison – Flickr License