Playing without two of your best players will certainly hamper any team. The Cleveland Cavaliers can attest to that. Tonight, the Los Angeles Clippers were without Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, and got their doors blown off by the Phoenix Suns. Of course, the real story might have been Blake Griffin getting ejected late in the second quarter when the Clippers were only down 49-48. After that, the team had no chance. They became fodder for the Suns.
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Due to the Griffin ejection, the team started the second half with a lineup featuring Pablo Prigioni, Austin Rivers, Lance Stephenson, Paul Pierce, and DeAndre Jordan. As you can expect, it did not go well. If there were any positive takeaways from this game, it’s that Wesley Johnson looked good in his minutes. He finished with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Jamal Crawford had a team-high 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Jordan led the way with 9 rebounds, and Griffin led the way with 4 assists in just 16:12. He also had 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 steal.
The game-high scorer tonight was Brandon Knight. He finished with a career-high 37 points. His backcourt mate, and former Clipper, Eric Bledsoe finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists – but he did have 8 turnovers. T.J. Warren came off the bench to give them 18 points. The Clippers have to rebound and recuperate before playing the Detroit Pistons at STAPLES Center on Saturday afternoon. If this game is any indication, things will not go well if Paul and Redick are unable to play.
Taylor C. Smith will have the full recap up shortly.