Clippers head into Game 7 with hobbled CP3

By Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com


VIDEO: Warriors top Clippers to force Game 7

OAKLAND, Calif. – Game 6, a clinching opportunity, the chance to finally get away from a first round that tested them in agonizing ways the Clippers never could have imagined, and the best point guard in the world is hard to find.

Chris Paul is on the court for 34 minutes, except that it’s not really Chris Paul. Maybe Cliff Paul. Maybe. But the inability to turn the corner with the ball, the challenge of staying with the Warriors’ shooters in the backcourt, that is more like CP1.5.

The Clippers have a problem, in addition to the obvious of Golden State extending the series with the 100-99 win Thursday night at Oracle Arena. Make that problems, plural. They have an anything-can-happen Game 7 in Los Angeles on Saturday as part of a matchup where pretty much everything has happened before we even get to the actual crescendo, they have a wounded Paul while staring at a first-round elimination complete with a blown series lead for the second year in a row, and they have a concerning pattern.

Three seasons Paul has been on the Clippers, three seasons he has been banged up in the playoffs. A strained groin that carried over from the end of the regular season in 2012 followed by a strained hip flexor in the first round against Memphis, a bruised thumb in 2013 against the same Grizzlies, and now the strained hamstring and a bruised right thumb. He has persevered enough to play big minutes each time. He just hasn’t been able to be his best.

This time, the right leg has been a factor much of the way, from clearly being bothered in Game 1 to the Clippers openly appreciating the extra recuperation in the schedule break of two days off before Games 3 and 4, to Paul laboring along in Game 6. The hamstring was often wrapped when he was out. The attention was always on when he was in.

“He’s dealing with a lot of stuff,” coach Doc Rivers said. “But listen. He’s on the floor and Golden State doesn’t care, bottom line. He does have injuries, there’s no doubt about that. I’m sure (the Warriors) have some too, but I think once you’re on the floor, you’re on the floor. Chris is playing terrific to me defensively and that’s what we need him to do in this series. It probably does take a little bit of the offense away, but I’m good with that.”

Paul did give the Clippers 34 minutes on Thursday, a heavy workload under difficult circumstances with his mobility and ability to control the flow. But he made just 3-for-10 shots, had eight assists against four turnovers and scored nine points, his fewest of the series. All the Clippers combined to shoot 36.8 percent.

Now it’s Game 7, the first time they have had one at home in franchise history, and the Clippers have to rely a lot on hope over what to expect CP3 will be able to give them. An earlier stretch of two games over seven days was not close to being enough healing time, as it turned out. A treatment regiment, sometimes constant, was not enough.

He has about a day and a half of recovery this time, from when the Clippers left Oracle Arena late Thursday, all Friday and until the scheduled 7:30 p.m. tip Saturday. He has one more chance in the series. After that, who knows.

“I’m OK,” Paul said. “Tough game, bumps and bruises, you get through it. But we’ve just got to be ready for Game 7. Every game is different. Me and Blake (Griffin) both battled foul trouble tonight. We’ve just got to be ready for Game 7.”

21 Comments

  1. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Chris Paul is short like Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Russell Westbrook is going to dominate.

  2. Blog-So-Hard-2014 says:

    The 2014 LA Clippers are not that deep

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      They’re gonna miss Caron Butler. Butler is healthy and playing like an All Star again.

      Thunder could be the deepest team in the entire NBA.

  3. Blog-So-Hard-2014 says:

    DeAndre Jordan should be averaging 40 ppg

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHA!!

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Golden State should have used the “hack-a-DeAndre” strategy at the end of their Game 7. Why did Mark Jackson not use that strategy? Worked before.

      I think Golden State threw the game on purpose. They could have won that Game 7 in L.A.

      Clippers are in serious, serious trouble. They have to play right away on Monday in OKC with a hobbled CP3. EASY SERIES WIN for the OKC Thunder (2014 NBA World Champs).

  4. Going To Game Tonight says:

    L.A. Will Win Tonight No Matter What!!!

  5. Mark says:

    The refs want the Clips to win – more $$$ in LA

  6. Mark says:

    The refs clearly have wanted the Clips to win all series. LA is the bigger media market.

  7. MICHAEL TURNER says:

    Clips will win because they are the TEAM in LA now. Exposure trick didn’t work so they make a giant leap over the other.

  8. dn1000 says:

    I’m rooting for the Clippers, since it’s their best team since 1993 when …

    1) it was a TIGHT 5 game series with Houston
    2) Houston won the championship in 1994

    That’s right. Donald Sterling broke up a team with THAT much talent.

  9. dn1000 says:

    This is the best Clipper team since 1993 when …

    1) they almost beat Houston in a TIGHT 5 game series
    2) Houston won the title in 1994, behind Olaijuwon’s stellar play

    … so, I’m rooting for the Clippers.

  10. nbafan says:

    I’m rooting for the Warriors. IMO they are just more likable, flop less, and less whiny compared to the Clips. Curry is a smart player and I hope O’Neal recovers quickly from that dirty Big Baby play.

  11. Fony says:

    Yes, true CP3 is surely not at 100% lately, with the injuries new and old. Yet it’s not only factor to determine winning or losing, it’s about the whole team. And as long as CP is on the court, he’s already making a huge difference.

  12. OKc2014 says:

    Clippers heading out of LA ?

  13. Dave says:

    withOUT, I mean without Bogut.

  14. Dave says:

    *ahem* Warriors have already been with Andrew Bogut this post-season, AND most of last year’s.

  15. Jay says:

    If the Clips can’t expose and exploit that middle then they have wasted a series and a season…. power game time BG and DJ…!

  16. The City says:

    Are you kidding. Paul has a booboo on his thumb and it warrants an entire article? How about how Big Baby TOOK OUT JERMAINE O’NEAL’S KNEE for crying out loud. The Warriors have no real center left. If you want to play Injury Olympics why don’t you start there?

    And c’mon, they’re gonna be in LA. I wouldn’t be surprised if the FT differential is something ridiculous like 19-40 again. I really hope I’m wrong and that the league will have some decency and just let the players play. The Clippers have nothing going against them now that the Sterling verdict has been dealt. If anything, it’s Warriors against the world on Saturday. Write about THAT.

  17. TTKIN says:

    Now’s the time to see if Curry will really attack on the offensive end. Make CP3 run around the whole time on his leg. Even if he doesn’t make the shots too often (like game 6), the pt is to wear CP3 down. Let’s see if he’s willing to.