Clippers news: Chris Paul, J.J. Redick doubtful vs. Warriors


It looks like the four-day gap between the Clippers’ last game and their upcoming one against the Golden State Warriors won’t be enough to get injured guards in J.J. Redick (back) and Chris Paul (groin, finger) back on the court, as Robert Morales of Inside SoCal reports the two are doubtful for Thursday.

"A Clippers spokesman on Monday said there is on change on the statuses of starting guards Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, neither of whom has played the past two games because of injuries.Paul is suffering from a groin strain and is listed as doubtful for Thursday’s game against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. Redick has been having back spasms and is listed as out."

The Clippers managed against the Pistons without its starting backcourt but against the best team in the NBA, and one of the best in league history, it’ll take a bigger collective effort from reserves and replacement starters to get the job done. Even then, in combination with Blake Griffin‘s brilliance and DeAndre Jordan‘s typical production, it just may not be enough.

The real test for the Clippers will be how the backcourt matches up with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Without Paul, one of the best defensive point guards in the NBA, the Clippers are at a huge disadvantage, though Doc may not believe so since he believes Austin Rivers to be a defender better than what has shown on the court. From any angle sought, it has disaster written all over it, meaning the responsibility on Griffin and Jordan will increase ten-fold as they operate through pick-and-roll defense.

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  • And another issue, the starting small forward spot, where Paul Pierce earned his first start of the season versus Detroit after Lance Stephenson was benched. It’s unclear there what Rivers has going on but against any team — and especially the Warriors — Pierce isn’t the ideal player to have in place, leaving either Stephenson, who theoretically adds a secondary scoring threat on the perimeter with the starting group, or Wesley Johnson, a prototypical 3-and-D player, and the best fit if Stephenson doesn’t get the nod, as options.

    Hopefully the outcome of the rival game isn’t too embarrassing, though the Clippers’ concerns date far past this game in particular. For a championship contending team like Los Angeles, it’s the end-game that matters most, and that’s being the last team standing, wielding the Larry O’Brien trophy in celebration of what it has accomplished through the 2015-16 season. And that requires health to its best players.

    For Paul, I’d guess Rivers and the training staff are taking things slow. With Griffin, Jordan asked to carry a greater load, the Clippers could maintain an above .500-status in the West with a relatively easy schedule coming up. Past the Warriors, the Clips are set to face off against the Trail Blazers (2x), Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves (2x), Indiana Pacers, and Orlando Magic, with matchups against Milwaukee, Chicago, Brooklyn, and Detroit before a tough stretch begins on the 18th of December (@ SAS, @ HOU, vs. OKC).

    For Redick, there are greater concerns, as he’s suffered a back injury in every season with the Clippers. We’ve heard tales upon tales about how the back shortens careers and effectiveness on the court, and for a player like Redick whose game is predicated on creating space for open shots through screens, a slip of any magnitude in speed makes him more of a human than the super role-player he’s made himself out to be in these last five years — averaging 14.8 points on 52% shooting in 27.9 minutes per game before the injury. And as talented as the Griffin-Paul-Jordan trio is, the idea of them winning it all without Redick being hisself or close to, hiding a possible decline behind him being a threat to defenses. It’s his ball movement that creates space for Jordan and Griffin in the paint, and takes attention off the ball-handler whenever they’re in the pick-and-roll. December could be a reasonable timeframe to see Redick return, but as of now everything’s up in the air, and if you feel the need to choose between who you should feel worried about the most, let it be Redick.

    Next: Is Jamal Crawford becoming the player the Clippers need him to be?

    It’s not good Clippers news, but as is the case with any injury, it’s just one game at a time for them. Ideally, this time period would be perfect for a reserve or two to step up and show they’re capable of being a consistent figure for this Clippers team. Because they need it, and now more than ever (not including the playoffs), and while the past hasn’t given us any reason to believe it’ll happen outside of Pierce who’s fighting daily with Father Time to remain a viable NBA player, being optimistic won’t hurt.