Doc Rivers “Doubts” Chris Paul Will Play Game 2 vs. Rockets


Apr 14, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (center) greets teammates prior to the game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers may have played incredibly well despite Chris Paul’s absence in game one against the Houston Rockets, as they pulled off a 117-101 victory, but L.A. still need him back. However, it doesn’t look like that will be the case tonight.

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Blake Griffin was able to take control in game one, as he recorded his third triple double of this year’s playoffs with 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists. The Clippers’ offense kept rolling, and destroyed the Rockets’ defense in the second half 71-51. Including their 48.8 percent field goal percentage, 20 points from Matt Barnes and 21 from Jamal Crawford, and just an all around effort from the entire team, the Clippers rose to the challenge. Tonight, it looks like they’ll need to do it again.

Doc Rivers has commented that the fate of Chris Paul for game two will be in the hands of the Clippers’ medics, and today he’s updated his story by saying that he doubts the star point guard will play at all.

Per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Rivers believes his Clippers will need to utilize the exceptional passing ability of Griffin once again.

Of course the Clippers want Chris Paul back, but their incredibly strong showing in game one is highly reassuring.

Arash Markazi of ESPN spoke to Rivers on the subject in more detail after Paul’s hamstring injury in game seven against the San Antonio Spurs, with the Clippers’ head coach saying how concerned he was:

"“Yeah, yeah, very. Someone is going to have to step up. I was thinking it’s funny how coaches think with three minutes left, I’m thinking, “OK, if we win this game, thank God I signed Lester [Hudson] because now you have two guards left.” We almost went big, and then we would literally have no other guards left. That was the first thing I thought.”"

If it wasn’t for game one against the Rockets, the probable loss of Chris Paul tonight would be a far more worrying concern. However, with Griffin’s ability to run the offense so effectively from the top of the key — due to his passing ability (averaging 8.1 assists this postseason) and range (shooting 40.1 percent from over 16 feet out this year) — the Clippers proved how well they can operate under his leadership.

Everyone had to deal with the challenge of losing Chris Paul in game one against the Rockets, and everyone stepped up. They even made 17 of their 22 second half field goals off assists. Which, when you don’t have your star point guard and the NBA’s best floor general anymore, is a real sign of the Clippers’ growing chemistry.

Tonight, Griffin needs to continue to act as L.A.’s leader. But as he’s already proven, he’s more than up to the task.

Hopefully Chris Paul will be back for game three if he has to sit tonight. Although, if the Clippers have looked this good without him, just think how good they can be when he returns.

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