When Chris Paul went down on Friday night for the Los Angeles Clippers, his shoulder injury wasn’t thought to be that serious. When it was announced after the game that he had a separated shoulder and would be out for the next three-to-five weeks of the 2013-14 NBA season, though, it was clear that the Clips would have some hard times over the next month.
The hard times didn’t wait long at all to meet the Clips head on, either. On Saturday night, L.A. faced the always dangerous San Antonio Spurs. The Clippers allowed 70 points in the first half and scored only 35 points of their own in that half. Though it got a little better as the game went on and the Spurs let up, it was clear that this Clippers team has major problems with Paul not on the floor.
Outside of Jamal Crawford and Blake Griffin, the only two players for the Clips that can remotely create their own shot, the Clippers largely struggled to score. Sure, Darren Collison added 14 points on 6-9 shooting, but that’s hardly on the same level that Paul plays at for this team.
Obviously the Clips aren’t going to be playing a team of the Spurs’ caliber every night and they aren’t going to struggle as they get more comfortable playing without Paul. However, it’s also clear how much Paul means to this team. His ability not only to score, but to create in so many ways for his teammates isn’t matched by anyone else on this team. I thought it would be a quick regression for the Clippers without CP3, but they might struggle even more than I previously expected if Saturday night is any indication.