Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin is expected to return to the team on Sunday or Tuesday, multiple sources told ESPN.com.
Griffin went through a full workout in Los Angeles without any limitations Friday during the Clippers’ 129-99 loss to the Mavericks in Dallas. The plan is for him to return Sunday against the Houston Rockets, but there is a chance the Clippers will want to see him go through a practice and a shootaround with the team first, pushing his return to Tuesday against the Hornets.
Griffin has missed the last 15 games for the Clippers, after undergoing surgery to remove a staph infection in his right elbow.
L.A. managed to survive admirably without him, going 9-6 during that stretch thanks largely to the improved play of DeAndre Jordan and some MVP-level performances from Chris Paul.
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The timing is good for Griffin to return; with 16 games left in the season, that should be plenty of time for him to get back into game shape and get re-integrated into the L.A. offense.
Cool story, Glenn: Doc Rivers makes uninformed case for DeAndre Jordan as Defensive Player of the Year
Jordan does have the upper hand in the rebounding column. Since Blake Griffin went out with a staph infection in early February, Jordan has pulled down a ridiculous 18.6 boards per game with 13.2 of those coming on the defensive end. Those are Wilt Chamberlain-type numbers.
The full scope of DeAndre Jordan’s stats prove he’s not a leading DPOY candidate.
In fact, Jordan’s 17.2 rebounding average was the highest we’ve seen in any month (minimum 10 games) since Ben Wallace in 2002-03, when he racked up 18.8 rebounds per game in the month of March. Interestingly enough, Wallace went on to win the defensive player of the year award in a landslide that season, garnering 100 of the 117 first-place votes.
Here’s why Jordan probably won’t follow Wallace’s path: Most of Jordan’s glass-cleaning impact is on the offensive end, which doesn’t move the needle for his defensive credentials. When Jordan’s on the floor, the Clippers recover 25.5 percent of their misses, but that free-falls to an abysmal 15.4 percent when he goes to the bench, according to NBA.com. That’s impact.
However, Jordan’s defensive rebounding tells a much weaker story. The Clippers’ defensive rebounding rate barely moves from 76.4 percent to 74.6 percent when he goes to the bench, indicating that he could be stealing defensive boards from his teammates. Case in point: Griffin averages just seven rebounds per 36 minutes playing next to Jordan this season, but that soars to 10.6 when Griffin plays without him. Chris Paul also shows a similar split (4.8 boards with Jordan vs. 5.6 without Jordan).
Your response, Doc?
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Doc Rivers wasn't happy about @tomhaberstroh article saying DeAndre Jordan is not the defensive player of the year, saying he took offense.
1) Chris Paul is the point god, outduels Russell Westbrook. There is a reason that when you ask scouts and front office types about the best point guard in the league they mention Chris Paul. He can do it all — he can score if needed, he can set up teammates, he defends well, and there is no smarter floor general in the game. All of that was on display Wednesday. Russell Westbrook has been on a Jordanesque tear of late and Wednesday night Paul owned him. CP3 controlled the show. Paul ended up with 33 points on 11-of-19 shooting, nine assists, four rebounds, and a couple steals. More impressive was the other end where Paul played fantastic defense on Westbrook, cutting off his driving lanes and pushing him to help, forcing 10 turnovers, and contesting seemingly every shot. It was a masterful performance, one worthy of the point god.
2) Portland picked up the kind of win that made you forget about Wesley Matthews for a night. OnWednesday Wesley Matthews had surgery to reattach hisAchilles tendon. That night the Blazers looked like a team that wasn’t going to miss a step without him. Arron Afflalo started and was impressive containing James Harden (18 points on 19 shots). Afflalo was so good on defense we’ll forgive his poor shot selection and rough offensive night. The Blazers got their offense from the usual suspects (LaMarcus Aldridge had 26, Damian Lillard 14) but this was the night guys like Nicolas Batum (18 points) and Meyers Leonard (8 points in 9 minutes) stepped up as well. The Blazers played like a team that could come out of the West with a couple breaks.
3) Is Melvin Hunt the coach the Denver Nuggets need? Denver just outworked and completely outplayed the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday. The Nuggets won 115-102, but that doesn’t do justice to a game they led by 34 at one point and were in complete control of all night. The Nuggets were prepared for the Hawks actions and cut them off out on the perimeter all game. The Nuggets are 4-2 under Hunt and are playing with a renewed energy. Hunt is a highly-respected long-time assistant around the league and looks ready for the big chair. Will Nuggets management give it to him?
4) Fortunately for the Grizzlies, Mike Conley is just fine. Still Boston rose up and smacked them. It may have been a loss but for Memphis, just getting out of this game with a healthy Conley is what matters. They aren’t going anywhere without him. Conley had to be carried off the court after this.
Conley returned to the game, bu he could not stop the Celtics, who looked like a team that has found its identity and stride under Brad Stevens. (He should be on some Coach of the Year ballots, you get to name three.) Boston looked like a playoff team. They did it without Isaiah Thomas, instead getting Avery Bradley back and he had 17 buckets including some key jumpers late. The Celtics are 1.5 out of the final playoff spot right now, but games like this make you think they can make it. And have some success long-term pieces to build on.
5) If you’re lucky enough to be in one of the front rows at a game, watch the game. Or instant Karma is going to get you.
DeAndre Jordan thinks game ends, holds ball rather than attempt game-winning layup (video)