Chris Paul has missed seven of the last eight Clippers’ games due to a hamstring strain — games Blake Griffin also missed — and the Clippers went 2-6 in that stretch with a bottom seven offense and defense. The Clippers have had success with Griffin out in the past, but they did it with a heavy dose of Paul/DeAndre Jordan pick-and-rolls. Take CP3 out of the equation, and things get ugly fast.
Which is why Paul returning to the lineup Friday against Sacramento is such good news for a Clippers team looking to turn things around. He should be good to go, as reported by ESPN.
LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers said guard Chris Paul might be able to play Friday against the Sacramento Kings.
Rivers added that Paul fully participated in Wednesday’s shootaround prior to the Clippers’ 115-106 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
“Chris looked great today, had a full workout, played up and down,” Rivers said before the game. “He looked terrific. We’ll wait to see how he feels tomorrow. Obviously, again, if it was a playoff game, Chris would be playing. But we just want to make sure he doesn’t have any soreness. If he doesn’t, then he’s cleared.”
The Clippers fell to the four seed in the West during the CP3-less slide, and they are now four games back of three seed Houston (and just a game up on five-seed Utah). That matters: If the Clippers are the fourth seed when the playoffs start, that means if they win their first-round series they likely get Golden State in the second round. And if the Clippers are out in the second round again this season, there is going to be some real soul-searching both by the organization, as well as Paul and Griffin, both of whom will opt out and be free agents. We could see big changes to the Clippers next summer.
This was a Nike gala, an event with a basketball theme. The court was lit up from below, there were tables at half court, and people had drinks in their hands.
Kobe Bryant was there, stylishly dressed in black. So was famous model Winnie Harlow.
Know that regardless of the setting, Kobe still has game.
Without Draymond Green in the fourth quarter Tuesday night in the opener, and with Andre Iguodala out for the game, the Warriors defense fell apart against Houston. The Rockets scored 34 points in the quarter and came from behind to beat a Warriors team that had been in control of the game up to that point. There was more to it than just Green’s balky knee, but without the Defensive Player of the Year they are not the same.
Bad news for the Pelicans: Green and Iguodala have been cleared to play in New Orleans Friday. Green had an MRI and it came back negative.
Green admitted he was concerned that the injury, via Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
Now it is the Pelicans who should be concerned. The Warriors will want to wash the feeling of that opening night loss off them.
With Derrick Rose having to start at point guard (until Isiah Thomas returns sometime in early 2018) and Dwyane Wade starting at the two, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue had no choice but to move Kevin Love to starting at center. The Cavaliers desperately need the floor spacing to open up driving lanes and options for LeBron James. Start Tristan Thompson at the five (with Love at the four and Jae Crowder coming off the bench) and it adds another non-shooter to the mix that allows opposing defenses to just pack the paint and force LeBron to be a jump shooter.
That doesn’t mean everyone liked the change.
Love admitted to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer he was frustrated with the move at first.
“It’s been a little bit of a change for me,” Love admitted. “I still find myself spacing a little bit wanting to roll a little bit more and on the defensive end just playing the primary big on their team the whole time on the defensive end. It’s been a little bit different figuring things out on that end, but it comes with the growth I’m talking about. We need to do that and hopefully be a machine when things start clicking.”
Lue put it this way.
“We’re going to try it out and see how it works. He was frustrated at first, but now he’s enjoying it.”
While in certain matchups, when the opposition has a more traditional center, the Cavs may go back to the Love/Thompson front line for a stretch. But the small ball lineup is the way Cleveland should be leaning, even with its clear defensive deficiencies. We saw that in the opener with Love’s dagger three in the fourth quarter.
Love is adjusting, he’s already sacrificed a lot to play with LeBron. This is just another step in that evolution.
The horrific, probably season-ending injury to Gordon Hayward has left the Celtics with a shortage of players on the wing.
Going up against Philadelphia Friday night, that might be getting worse, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.
Looking at the pictures, I doubt Smart plays.
As noted, Smart said he hurt both ankles in the second night of a back-to-back against Milwaukee, the left one in a collision with teammate Jaylen Brown. Smart started that game and played 32 minutes. That’s a lot of time to go to lesser players.
If he’s out Friday, that likely means either Terry Rozier or Abdel Nader get the start, and both are going to see a healthy bump in minutes. Whatever happens, the Celtics would miss Smart in a game where they need to defend Ben Simmons on the wing.