Back Away From The Edge, Clipper Fans

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HANG TIME, Texas — From Bill Walton’s feet to Danny Ferry’s bolting for Italy to the choice of Michael Olowokandi to practically any decade of Donald Sterling’s long and painful stewardship, it is practically built into their DNA.

Fear! Dread! Panic!

So maybe you can’t blame Clippers fans for seeking out a tall mast from which to jump.

But we will.

Relax.

Yes, it’s now a three-game losing streak that has your boys slipping behind the Spurs into third place in the Western Conference playoff race. Yes, the latest blow came at the hands of the lowly Suns, who are more barren than an Arizona desert and are memorizing the name of their new coach (Lindsey Hunter).

No, the ball’s not going into the basket as often as they’d like. No, Blake Griffin wasn’t zooming toward the rim to catch alley-oops for dunks, wasn’t attacking the basket and wasn’t taking enough shots.

Come on, surely you can take off your sunglasses to see that handsome young man in the dapper outfit sitting over there on the bench, not far from coach Vinny Del Negro.

Meet Chris Paul, fire-starter, All-Star and MVP candidate whose stock is only soaring higher as he waits for a sore knee to feel better.

Maybe everyone was fooled when the Clippers swept a three-game road trip a week ago with Paul on the sidelines nursing his knee. But does anyone really think this team, this season, this talk about the Clippers as real championship contenders doesn’t revolve around CP3?

Everything the Clippers try to do with their offense is based on having the ball in Paul’s hands, letting him make plays, buckets and decisions, as Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles notes:

The Clippers don’t want to make any excuses while Paul is out, and there’s certainly a chance he could be out for a week as he was the last time he sat out with a bruised right kneecap. But with the Clippers up by one with 7:45 left in the game, the Clippers sure could have used Paul or at least Chauncey Billups running the offense to close the game out. Eric Bledsoe is a great change-of-pace point guard and can give the Clippers a spark in the second and third quarters, but Del Negro likes to lean on Paul (and Billups when he’s healthy) early and late in games and it’s not hard to see why.

“All that stuff changes with Chris or Chauncey out there,” Del Negro said. “There’s no excuse. We were in this game and whoever is out there I have confidence in and they got to make the plays.”

Paul is the one who gets the ball to all of the other Clippers in the best position for them to score. Paul is the one who creates the open spaces for open shots. Paul is the one who turns them from a collection of diverse talent into a team.

Yes, there are games that you can win over the course of a long season without your star player. The Clippers did that in going 3-0 through Memphis, Houston and Minnesota. But that was never the point.

Imagine the Heat without LeBron James or the Thunder without Kevin Durant. Heck, even imagine the Three Stooges without Curly.

The show still goes on. But nobody really comes to see Shemp.

We don’t need laboratory slides to know that panic is in your blood, Clipper fans.

Just relax and know that CP3 is just collecting a few more MVP votes this week.

11 Comments

  1. Matthew says:

    Regardless of what anyone says CP3 makes this team championship quality. He took a New Orleans team with a few good players and no bench to the playoffs while nursing an injury. The Clips just need to get more defensive especially Blake. BG should be shutting down opposing power forwards.

  2. PdaDunker says:

    Som egames stink, for no reason at all except lack of execution. Stuff happens. We’ll see at playoff time, won’t we? Lik seeing the Clips play, it’s entertaining. D could be better, though. Hence Lamar? Wait and see

  3. justsaying says:

    Come on now Mr. Blinebury, Shemp may not have been an icon like his brother Curly but he was fairly funny.

    It was Curly Joe Besser nobody comes to see.

    /On topic though, it’s a good thing the Clips have built up the third best record in the league. It’s beneficial for when nagging injuries come around and cost you some winnable games. It’ would certainly be premature to panic at this point.

  4. Stan says:

    I don’t understand the coach using Odom instead of Jordan. Odom is ok for a bench guy who plays with the bench, but to close the game out you should have DJ out there instead of Odom. DJ is going Plus in all 3 of the clipper loses helping them build leads in the first and 3rd quarters but he never gets in much during the 4th quarter and he is way better then Odom. Odom is ok for 10 minutes during the end of 1st and 3rd quarters and beginnning of 2nd and 4th, but he is in no shape to play more than 20 minutes a game.

  5. KC says:

    Chris Paul remains a phenomenon, the guy I consider to be the best PG in the league right now. He is a true point guard in every sense, and yet he is able to score almost at will when his team needs him to. He raises the energy level of his whole team just by being on the floor, with everyone gaining confidence that if they go to the right places, the ball WILL find them at the right times. Not being able to play him in the lineup was bound to have an effect sooner or later.

  6. Brett says:

    You fail to comprehend the point of this entire article: We are in no way close to the same team without Cp3. Totally broken in many ways actually. Not an excuse, just reality. We torched the Warriors with a healthy Paul. We lost when he was hurt. Bledsoe has a ton of potential, but he’s nowhere near the superstar we’ve come to rely on at the point night in and night out. CP3 for MVP!

  7. WammyGiveaway says:

    Clippers fans do have the right to panic, but for the first time in franchise history, Sterling is not to blame. It’s the Golden State Warriors, who won the season series against Lob City 3 to 1. Ever since losing to the Warriors, the Clipper’s mentality, winning confidence and overall psyche has been shot. The Warriors know all of the Clippers weaknesses, and they are not afraid to exploit them. Mark Jackson has a personal vendetta against the Clippers, and has used this mindset to influence his Warriors in beating them; while the Clippers refuse to acknowledge them, thinking that they are still a lottery team, a loser team from the lockout season. Now the Warriors own them, and if the Clippers see Golden State in the playoffs, they will automatically get swept by them.

    Last night’s loss to the Suns showed: they played hesitated, desperate, and reluctant, as if they’re afraid to win. Every time the Clippers face a team now, whether it’s the Thunder, Spurs, Grizzlies – any team for that matter, even the 2012 Hall Of Fame Laker Gods – the Clippers will only see the Warriors, and they are scared of them. Until they can face their fears, the Dubs are invincible, and the Clippers will lose the Pacific Division once again.

    • clipps89 says:

      this is getting out of hand….its only a 3 game losing streak!!!calm down!!!..were at least making the west semis for sure!!!

  8. Game Time says:

    As a Clipper fan that was a tough game for me to watch. Looked nothing like the team I’ve seen over the past couple months. I hope they get back on track because I would really like to see them finish a season in 1st place. Very unlikely without Paul or Billups, but still possible.

  9. steppx says:

    Contra this article; I think this is just the clips gradually settling into their realistic slot…….around the four or five seed. This team was never going to compete for the title. Denver and the Spurs have coaches who always coast the first half of the season…they rest guys, they tinker with rotations, etc. Paul is great but the much lauded bench is returning to normal….mostly journeymen but good ones. Compare the depth of Denver of the athleticism of the first seven at OKC. And memphis even, i would predict to end with a better record. Clips have a forty year old grant hill…who is playing like he’s forty, a dead loss in lamar odom (37% shooting and 26% of this threes last time I looked), an average body in willie green, and not much else outside of Crawford……and does anyone expect him to keep putting up the numbers he did until recently? Matt Barnes has been very good….and Billups can help some….though will be take minutes from Bledsoe? is that a good thing? All in all, its a long season………..sports writers love to jump on bandwagons….and they have with the clips…..and now they will just as quickly abandon ship as the losses start to rise.

    • Not Blake Griffin says:

      We’ll be fine.. No Drake…
      But CP3 is being rested obviously for the playoffs as well as Billups.
      Grant hill just came back couple weeks ago. And All of our guys hustle!
      Our bench is key going into the playoffs, and i also think when Billups comes back, It would really help our “Halfcourt” offensive come playoff time in those serious situations… We’ll be fine. Last nites game was just a lack of execution that could of easily been overturned if paul was dressed out.. We’ll be fine…