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Fantasy Friday: Who Gets Blake's Minutes?

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Let's look at the upcoming matchups and predict who will get the missing star's minutes.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin is out until early March, at least...

(Sorry, I was getting a replacement for the keyboard I just threw at the wall.)

Doc Rivers has indicated both in his statements and his rotation choices that he will let the matchup dictate whether Jamal Crawford or Spencer Hawes will assume more of the missing forward's minutes.

The most recent estimate for Griffin's absence is three weeks, and that was news released on Monday, February 9, putting him back around March 2 at the earliest. Fortunately, the extra-long All-Star break limits the Clippers exposure during this injury period, but let's look at their upcoming games and take a guess as to which player will benefit from the extra minutes.

2/19 vs. Spurs

The Spurs are tough to get a bead on, because Coach Popovich shuffles his lineup like a madman. 12 different Spurs have gotten starts this year, eight of them at least 14 times. Aron Baynes got the last start next to Tim Duncan, and Matt Bonner got the start before that. Tiago Splitter is on a minutes restriction, but with Boris Diaw playing a key role as well, this team is deep up front. I don't see Doc going small for long stretches, because that would force one of either Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, or Crawford to guard Kawhi Leonard. Prediction: Hawes

2/21 vs. Kings

In the roundtable, I became one of roughly 900 basketball writers to remark that a Sacramento Kings lineup was surprisingly among the top 5-man units in the league by way of NBA.com's net rating (offensive rating - defensive rating). That lineup goes Collison-McLemore-Gay-Thompson-Cousins. Focus on the forward spots, because that's where these matchup decisions will be made. If Doc goes with Crawford, one of his guards has to check Gay or Thompson, and that's a major size mismatch, as both are comfortable posting up. Prediction: Hawes

2/23 vs. Grizzlies, 2/27 @ Grizzlies

Z-Bo. Big Spain. This one's easy. Hawes gets the privilege of banging with these two inside when Memphis has the ball, and Doc will hope that he, in turn, can drag one of them outside when possession is reversed. Prediction: Hawes

2/25 @ Rockets

Another easy one, because we've already seen how this story goes. If Doc goes with his three-guard lineup, then James Harden has to guard someone. If Harden has to guard someone, he can tire and becomes easier to control when he gets the ball. Prediction: Crawford

3/1 @ Bulls

Another Gasol. Another big front line. This one's not quite as obvious though. Joakim Noah isn't the fiercest back-to-the-basket player, and Chicago doesn't tend to play three perimeter threats simultaneously. Doc could decide to go with Crawford to stretch this defense and take his chances with Barnes on Noah at the other end. Ultimately, though, I think he goes with Hawes to counter the Bulls' rim-attackers, which include gonzo bench rebounder Taj Gibson. Prediction: Hawes

3/2 @ Timberwolves

The baby Wolves are playing like a very different team than the depleted squad the Clippers pasted in December. However, one thing remains, and it is that this is a smallish team. Flip Saunders only has two true big men in his rotation, with Thaddeus Young and Anthony Bennett getting the power forward minutes. New addition Adreian Payne is also a stretchy kind of 4. Doc doesn't seem to trust Hawes as a low post initiator capable of victimizing the Wolves' tweeners inside, so as I've done throughout this exercise, I expect Doc to go small against small. Prediction: Crawford