What the Clippers have done without Chris Paul has been impressive — on the season the Clippers are 10-3 without him and they just went 5-2 on their Grammy road trip all with him sidelined. Blake Griffin has stepped up his game — in his last 10 games he is averaging 26.4 points a game with a true shooting percentage of 63.2 percent, he’s shot 47.1 percent from the midrange in his last five games (you have to respect that shot from him now) and he’s +9.7 per 48 minutes.
Still, the Clippers can’t wait to get Chris Paul back.
Out with a separated shoulder, he was seen working out and that leads to questions of just how soon he can be back, reports Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Chris Paul got in a good, strong workout before the Clippers played the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night. Paul got in a good sweat shooting jumpers and runners. He got in a good sweat running up and down the court after he shot….
“No one said there were any changes or a deadline or anything,” Coach Doc Rivers said. “But he feels great. I still think it’s All-Star break, in that area. I don’t think that changed.
“But he feels good. I know he’s shooting a little bit now. The fact that he can run and do the conditioning is great. But other than that, it still has to heal.”
With the Clippers winning and holding their ground in the deep Western Conference, there is no reason to rush CP3’s return. That said, the sooner the better for the Clippers.
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That could be prior to the All-Star Game, and if it is Paul would likely have a spot in the game (the coaches would vote him in as a reserve no question, if they do not it’s because they don’t think he’ll be healthy enough to play). If Paul is voted in as a reserve but can’t go the league, ultimately the Commissioner (then Adam Silver) picks his replacement on the roster.
The All-Star Game is just the icing on the cake — the Clippers are trying to grow into contenders in the Western Conference. They didn’t look the part in the first half of the season; they were on a second tier in the West. But this stint of strong play without Paul could be a springboard when he returns. We will see.
Whenever that return takes place.