Blank Griffin: The Clippers Playoff Chances
A right toe injury to Clippers Forward Blake Griffin has ruled the former number one overall draft selection out for the remainder of the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
The Clippers announced early on Saturday morning, that they would be keeping Griffin sidelined for yet another postseason run. Last year, Griffin aggravated a quadriceps injury in Game 4 of the first round against Portland and missed the remaining two games of the series.
ESPN reports that Griffin injured his toe while stepping on the foot of his teammate, Marreese Speights, whereas it was originally expected the injury occurred as a result of Griffin landing awkwardly on a layup attempt.
Injuries have been a concern throughout Blake’s career. Even having begun his NBA career on the bench, as a result of a broken kneecap suffered during a preseason game his unofficial rookie year.
The Clippers have fared well without Griffin in the lineup, yet there is no doubt they are more of an intimidating force with number 32 on the court. These playoffs, he was averaging 20.3 points per game alongside 6 rebounds per game.
Sunday night, the Clippers loss to the Jazz came without Blake Griffin stepping a single toe on the court. Marreese Speights, Griffin’s replacement in the starting lineup, went from averaging 15.3 minutes per game to staying out on the hardwood for 21 minutes when he produced 5 points and 4 rebounds. Now it’s not to say that the Clippers’ chances of moving on to the second round depend solely on Speights’ performance but if the Clippers expect to win, every player must “step up” as the Clippers motto goes, according to Chris Paul.
With Griffin having the option to be a free agent once the final horn sounds on the Clippers season, his demeanor on the bench will show whether or not he believes in this team.
Not only has Griffin’s antics off the court been amusing for the rest of the NBA onlookers, but he has had some questionable moments while in a chair on the sidelines. Back in January of 2015, Griffin “jokingly” grabbed the back of his trainer’s head while he was getting his knee worked on and forced his trainer’s head towards his crotch before the trainer flailed away. Griffin has on multiple occasions disrespected the bench, at times punching chairs or tossing cups. His teammates have had his back in the press, and now it is Griffin’s time to show his seriousness and loyalty to the organization.
The answer to whether Blake Griffin’s unfortunate injury will motivate the Clippers is in its fortune. Griffin claimed $20.14 this season, having missed 21 games. In a league that seems to pay more for offense than defense, Doc Rivers had insight on where the importance was for the upcoming games following Blake Griffin’s injury.
“We’ll respond. We’ll be good,” Rivers stated, furthering his adjustment plan, “We’ve got to get the guys ready for the next game. It’s a huge game...We didn’t have a great game last night. It was an offensive game for both teams. We have to be ready for a better defensive effort from them and we have to give a better defensive effort ourselves.”
The series picks back up in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The Clippers host the Jazz with the series tied at two games a piece and the pressure on the team meant to produce better postseason results than they have since assembling at the beginning of the 2011 season.
The hill just got a little steeper to climb for the Clippers. With the Jazz having led the league in opponents points per game during the regular season, where are the points going to come from in the closing minutes of each quarter. This injury to Griffin either stopped momentum or will show to have pushed the Clippers forward. Let’s watch.