PORTLAND, Ore. — The series is now even, but the outcome of Game 4 between the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers (Portland won, 98-84) was the last thing on anybody’s mind. The Clippers lost the game, but more pressingly, they lost Chris Paul, likely for the rest of the series.
In the third quarter, Paul injured his right hand defending a Gerald Henderson layup attempt. He left to be tended to in the locker room, and the injury was later announced as a fractured third metacarpal.
In a less publicized but no less pressing blow to the Clippers’ health, Blake Griffin also suffered a reinjury of the left quad that kept him out for much of the regular season.
“It doesn’t look good,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after the game, although he called Griffin’s chances of playing in Wednesday’s Game 5 in Los Angeles “50/50.”
Following a scoring explosion from Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum in Game 3, it was Portland’s role players that kept them afloat on Monday. Al-Farouq Aminu led all scorers with 30 points, including six three-pointers, after struggling with his shot for the first three games.
Blazers guard Allen Crabbe, who did not make a three-pointer in the first three games of the series, hit two on Monday on his way to 12 points.
There is no timetable for Paul’s recovery, but the Clippers have almost certainly lost him for the rest of the series with Portland at the minimum. And even if they get past Portland, they’ll likely be facing the Warriors. And Stephen Curry injury or no, it’s still hard to see the Clippers getting past Golden State if Paul isn’t healthy.