The Los Angeles Clippers cannot seem to sustain their explosive performance for more than a few games this NBA season. With the devastating loss to the Golden State Warriors in the early parts of the year and the subsequent three-game losing streak, the Blake Griffin squad attempted to bounce back. The recovery consisted of the DeAndre Jordan team bringing home three back-to-back wins after beating the New Orleans Pelicans, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Portland Trail Blazers. However, their most recent victory over the Damian Lillard had been bittersweet.
The game against the Portland Trail Blazers saw the exit of Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul. The point guard had been escorted off the court in the early portion of the third quarter. At that point, Paul had already scored 10 points and raked in three rebounds with six assists in the 24 minutes he played for the Los Angeles Clippers.
"You can't replace Chris, obviously," said Jordan, referring to the adjustments of the NBA team with respect to the point guard's absence, according to an official press release. "But we have to learn to play with somebody down. I may be down a game, Blake might be out. You have to learn to play without guys. That's why we have such a deep team this year. Injuries happen, things happen, and we want to be able to fill that void."
Paul was said to have incurred a rib muscle strain, which caused him to miss the rest of the game against the Meyers Leonard team. He was later on replaced by Austin Rivers, who easily established a chemistry with Griffin. Paul is up for further medical evaluation for the Los Angeles Clippers to determine the time needed for his recovery. It remains unknown if he will be able to play against the Indiana Pacers.
"Whenever Chris is out, Blake and the point guard basically do the ballhandling," shared Doc Rivers. The Los Angeles Clippers head coach added, "It's just nice when you have a guy like Blake that can do stuff like that."
Meanwhile, reports have surfaced regarding the possibility of seeing Griffin and Jordan exit the team sometime soon. Griffin had admitted in earlier interview that the absence of some players causes him to adjust his playing stance. While Rivers praised the NBA star's capacity to adapt accordingly, Griffin is adamant about his desire to concentrate on his position and function as a power forward. That is, he finds taking over the vacated position of Paul regarding calling plays a distraction.
"With CP out, he always has the ball and he's always calling plays and getting us into sets," shared Griffin. "A lot of times, I try to take on a little bit of that. But we have guys capable of stepping up and doing those things as well. I try not to mentally change my role."
As for Jordan, the frustration on the shooting performance of the Los Angeles Clippers center has reached an all-time high. Hence, rumors of his imminent departure from the NBA team's roster have been rife as of late. Moreover, Jordan has been reportedly voicing out discontent on how his talent is utilized in the team.
Amid all these though, Jordan is determined to improve his performance. He said via Los Angeles Times, "I've got to defend better, I've got to rebound more, I've got to block more shots, set more picks to get guys open and finish whenever I get the ball."