The Los Angeles Clippers are just trying to hold serve with Chris Paul out of the lineup. They traded backup point guard Eric Bledsoe to the Phoenix Suns this offseason and signed Darren Collison to be the backup to Paul. With Paul out, the Clippers have gone 7-3 and have seen tremendous growth from Blake Griffin.
In the 10 games Paul has missed, Griffin has averaged 24.9 points and eight rebounds per game. Collison has scored double figures in all but one of those games and averaged 6.2 assists per game. They have a lot of veteran depth on the team and have loaded their roster up with shooters.
In last season’s playoff loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Clippers struggled to hit three pointers or any shots from outside the paint. This issue was addressed in the offseason when the team traded for Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick in a three team trade and also signed Antwan Jamison. Last week, they added Hedo Turkoglu to the mix and still have Jamal Crawford.
On Friday night against the Chicago Bulls, the Clippers went 13-for-21 from the three point line, which is 62 percent. The Bulls shot only 6-for-19 which is 31.6 percent. The Clippers won the game 112-95, so the 21 point difference from the three point line is what won the game for Los Angeles.
Redick made four, Matt Barnes and Crawford each hit three, and Collison hit two of them. With DeAndre Jordan and Griffin each securing double-doubles, this win was one the most well-rounded team efforts for the Clippers all year.
If they continue to hit their outside shots like they did Friday when Paul comes back, the Clippers could make a run to the NBA Finals. They have failed to get to the Western Conference Finals since they acquired Paul, but this is the most talented roster they have had, and they finally have the coach, Doc Rivers, to go with it.