Less than 24 hours after news broke about Stephen Curry’s sprained knee, Clippers fans rejoiced at the possibility of finally getting past the second round in the playoffs, until two nights ago in Portland.
With Los Angeles up 2-1 in their series against the Trailblazers, spirits were high and the trio of Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul was flourishing. Not to mention, if they knocked off Portland, they would play a Golden State team without Stephen Curry. But the NBA can be a cruel game sometimes.
During the second half of game four, two of LA’s big three went down and will be out for most likely the rest of the playoffs. Blake Griffin has already been ruled out for the remainder of the playoffs with a quad injury, the same injury he had in the regular season. Griffin was seen reaching at his knee on the sideline in the second half.
Chris Paul on the other hand (no pun intended) fractured a bone in his right hand after reaching in for a steal in the third quarter. Paul immediately looked down at his hand, shook it, and continued to play on in the next sequence of action before being taken out and brought into the locker room with clear frustration on his face.
Last year, Los Angeles, blew a 3-1 series lead against the Rockets in the second round. And for a franchise that has never made it past the second round, this year might have been the last shot.
Both Griffin and Paul are free agents after next season, and some tough ownership decisions will have to be made as to whether to bring them back, or start from scratch once again.
Chris Paul is a well respected veteran in the league, and he’s never come close to an NBA Finals appearance and it doesn’t appear as though he’ll get there with LA or even in the Western Conference. With Paul at 30 years of age, an age where players in every sport start to break down, his hunt for a championship becomes his number one focus.
Griffin is just entering the prime years of his career, and if he can stay healthy, and not suspended, he can be the face of a franchise throughout his next contract.
With the series with the Trailblazers now tied up at 2-2, the Clippers will have to rely on DeAndre Jordan and JJ Redick to get them to the next round, where they will likely get swept by Golden State no matter what Curry’s timetable to return is. Even when the Lakers are in the dumps, the Clippers just can’t take the next step to become LA’s team.
Cover Photo via BusinessInsider