Clippers surviving with Chris Paul’s aggressive scoring


While Blake Griffin is out, Chris Paul’s increased aggressiveness to score is going to be key to the Los Angeles Clippers’ extending their win streak.

The Los Angeles Clippers need everyone to step up in the absence of Blake Griffin. He’s been their best player so far this season, and after hearing the news that he’ll be out for at least two weeks with a partially torn quadricep tendon, Doc Rivers would have been faced with immediate worry. From how to adjust his already peculiar rotations to the matter of making up for Griffin’s 23.2 points per game, his injury is the last thing the Clippers needed as they hoped to find some consistency.

A vital factor that has allowed the team to earn two wins since losing Griffin, though, is the way Chris Paul has elevated his game. And no, this isn’t just referring to his dunks.

The key to Paul’s performance and the way in which he’s been leading the Clippers is his aggressiveness. And without Griffin’s stellar multitude of scoring techniques to rely on, that aggression from Paul is exactly what the team needs.

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In Washington on Monday night, Paul didn’t just rely on his incredible mid-range game to get his points. Besides the two-handed dunk that he had all the time in the world to finish, he attacked the rim in his bulldog manner, too. We won’t see one-handed throw-downs too often, but the way he drives past defenders or rolls off screens to pull-up from the elbow is deadly. With that intensity, Paul attempted 15 shots in the first half for only the second time in his career.

To add some context to Paul’s sudden madness to go for throw-downs, he’s made just two dunks in the last two seasons combined. This season, he’s already made two in just one game.

In fact, Paul has been finishing better than ever when he drives to the basket this season. With a career-high shooting percentage of 71.7 percent from within three feet, he’s been incredibly efficient when looking to attack inside rather then use his mid-range game.

He surveys opposing defenses better than any other point guard in the game. Whether he uses that incredible basketball IQ to find the perfect pass or utilize his ball handling to create space and a shot for himself, he can do so.

Against the Wizards, as he helped the Clippers maintain a double-digit lead for almost the entire game en route to a 108-91 win, Paul put on a clinic with these attributes. The only factor that differed to what we don’t always see when Griffin is around was Paul’s instinct to attack himself.

More clippers: Watch Chris Paul dunk all over the Wizards

If Paul starts playing like an angry scorer as well as an elite floor general, the Clippers can thrive in different ways than when he focuses on facilitating and just shooting when the opportunity presents itself. Just like his season-high 35 points that kept the Clippers close to the terrifying Golden State Warriors on November 19, Paul can carry his team with scoring, as well as all the other facets of his game.

That being said, Paul hasn’t done everything by himself since losing Blake.

DeAndre Jordan has recorded two strong double doubles and five blocks, Wesley Johnson has had two more efficient outings, Cole Aldrich has provided a tough boost of energy of the bench, and Paul Pierce has actually shot well for once. In fact, The Truth has been on display to the tune of 14.5 points on 55.6 percent shooting over the last two games.

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As the Clippers’ continue and look forward to two easier outings against the New Orleans Pelicans and Philadelphia 76ers in their next three games, they need Chris Paul to be relentless. His defense and passing is always apparent, but a mindset to create opportunities to score himself at times is what they need while Blake is out of action.