Cutting down the Clippers
With the face of “Lob City” and dunking phenom, Blake Griffin out with a season ending toe injury, not only are the Clippers playoff push in jeopardy, but their hopes of maintaining their franchise core are on high alert as well.
It is now the second postseason in a row, where an injury sustained by Griffin has shattered the Clippers hopes and likeliness of making a deep run into the playoffs. Last season, already down their prized point guard Chris Paul, who had underwent surgery on a fractured hand, Griffin only added insult to injury when he injured his left quadriceps in Game 4 of the first round against the Portland Trail Blazers. Even though the Clippers have been injury and unsuccessfully plagued in the playoffs while under head coach Doc Rivers (have never advanced past the second round, EVER), Griffin’s injury history dates all the way back to 2009, which ironically was the year he was drafted.
Young, and wildly athletic, it wouldn’t take long for Griffin to sustain his first NBA injury. Griffin had broken his kneecap coming down on a dunk late in the preseason, which would delay his NBA rookie debut for over five weeks. While missing his entire initial rookie season, he returned the following year to put on a show, solidifying the Rookie of the Year award for the 2010 – ’11 season. Since then, Griffin has had his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way like all professional athletes, with his most notable being a broken hand after punching a team trainer out of frustration last season as well as having recurring quad injuries and also undergoing “minor” arthroscopic knee surgery.
With Blake out, it’s going to take an unconquerable amount of effort from Chris Paul to get his team to the second round of the playoffs – which still wouldn’t be too promising as the Clippers would have to face the Golden State Warriors who are man handling the Trail Blazers without any help from Kevin Durant.
Just about every report I’ve read on the Black Griffin and the Clippers status has Doc Rivers quoted saying that he wants to keep the team together no matter how this season’s playoff push ends.
They’ve been here before, and we as fans and critics have heard this before. A lot of people along with myself aren’t buying it this time around. It’s gotten to the point where they’ve become a “great team” on paper, while still fun to watch, they’re just not the correct group to get the job done. As I recall, last offseason, THIS SEASON was their do or die season, the season for this core group of players to give the fans something other than 82 games of excitement, and most importantly, the season to prove why team owner Steve Ballmer should in fact, keep this team intact.
I still believe that Los Angeles’ can maintain a big three that will stay healthy and create an exciting yet effective style of play to advance them further than the second round of playoffs, however I don’t believe that next year’s big three will feature Blake Griffin…maybe no Doc Rivers.