Many thought the injury to veteran guard Chris Paul would be a catastrophic loss the Los Angeles Clippers would not be able to recover from, but the team has handled Paul’s absence well. After Paul was injured at the beginning of January, the Clippers are 11-4 and continue to gain ground on the Western Conference leaders. The team currently sits in 4th place and just a game and a half out of second. Instead of plummeting in the standings, the Clippers have used Paul’s absence as a rallying point and have shown they are real contenders out west.
The Clippers face another tough test when the team travels to Denver to face the Nuggets in what is sure to be a high-scoring affair. The Denver Nuggets are notorious for playing well out home where the altitude seems to give them an advantage. The Clippers have fared well even through the loss of Paul, but it will not get any easier Monday when the team must defend one of the best point guards in the NBA in Ty Lawson without the Clippers All-Star guard.
Paul’s absence will help the Clippers in the long run, but his return could propel the team to new heights. Paul is still considered one of the greats in the league and his versatility and experience will go a long way in helping the Clippers in the postseason. Blake Griffin has carried the team without Paul, but CP3’s return will be well received by Griffin who has developed a good rapport with the veteran guard over the past few years.
The Clippers have one of the most talented teams in the league and Doc Rivers elevates the team to the next level, but is this the year that the Clippers ascend to the top of the Western Conference?
Greg Douglas is an NBA writer for RanSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.