UPDATE 12:59 p.m. ET: At Wednesday morning’s shootaround, both Doc Rivers and Chris Paul expressed doubt that Paul would be ready to go in Game 2.
“I pretty much doubt it, to be honest, just from talking to him,” Rivers said, via Arash Markazi of ESPN.com. “But we’ll see. Right now, I just don’t think so.”
“It’s one of those things that you don’t want to make it worse than it already is,” Paul said.
12:30 p.m.: Chris Paul was sidelined with a hamstring injury in Game 1 of his team’s second-round series versus the Rockets, but thanks to a historically-great performance from Blake Griffin, L.A. managed to win anyway, and steal Houston’s home-court advantage in the process.
With the Clippers now playing with house money, there might be a temptation to sit him once more, ensuring he’s as right as possible for the remainder of what would then be a relatively short five-game series.
But Doc Rivers doesn’t seem to be leaning that way just yet.
From Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles:
There’s a “50-50” chance Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul will play in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, Doc Rivers said Tuesday. …
“I’d say 50-50,” Rivers said when asked what his gut feeling on Paul playing Wednesday was. “I honestly don’t know. My gut before last night was there would be a good chance [he would play Wednesday] so I’d probably lean that way. He looked good walking today.”
Rivers said he would not play or rest Paul based on the Clippers winning the first game of the series without him.
“If he can play, he’ll play,” Rivers said. “We just want to make sure he’s healthy.”
The schedule for this series doesn’t exactly lend itself to rest; games take place every other day until there are two days between a possible Game 6 and a Game 7, which would take place in Houston on May 17 if necessary.
The Clippers undoubtedly want to give themselves the best chance possible at winning Game 2, a feat that would put the Rockets in an 0-2 hole that may seem insurmountable. But Rivers shouldn’t be short-sighted, here. If there’s even a chance Paul isn’t right, and could aggravate his injury to the point where it could affect him in the later rounds, then L.A. should take the cautious approach and once again sit him out.