What now for Clippers after Chris Paul and Blake Griffin injuries?

first_imgPORTLAND >> Think of Steve Ballmer.Maybe you see him on stage at a conference screaming “developers.” Maybe you see him at a pep rally screaming “Larry.” Maybe you see him sitting courtside screaming after a Clippers dunk.You don’t see him like this.Before Chris Paul walked out of the Moda Center with his right arm in a sling and his right hand in a cast, as defeated as he’s ever been, Ballmer was quiet. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error By the time Ballmer left the arena, Paul’s season was deemed “probably” over. Blake Griffin’s status for the playoffs was suddenly back in doubt due to his troublesome quad injury. And, that opportunity the Clippers’ had? Add it to the casualty list.• RELATED: Griffin out for rest of playoffs, Paul has hand surgeryIn one night, the pain from the torn ACLs, the shame from the former owner, it gets felt. The disaster against the Rockets, the disappointment against the Thunder, the sweep by the Grizzlies – it was there inside the locker room right next to Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford.This only happens to Clippers?Almost three years to the date, the Clippers – and really, who else could this happen to? – underwent almost the very same fate.Russell Westbrook got hurt, the Thunder were weakened, and the Clippers, once owners of a 2-1 series lead, had an opportunity.But they lost Game 4, and in a total fluke moment, lost any real chance of winning the next two when Griffin stepped on Lamar Odom’s foot during practice, suffering a high ankle sprain.And, in an even great, bigger, total fluke, something creepily similar happened again. Three years later. Almost to the date.The Clippers lose Paul. They maybe lose Griffin. They lose Game 4, and, they lose their grip on the series.“Unbelievable,” Crawford said.When news of Curry’s injury on Sunday reached Clipper players, they really tried not to look ahead. They focused on staying in the moment, concentrating on the present challenges.What now?Worrying about overconfidence now seems like such a novel challenge.This is a team in trouble.“We rebound,” Jordan said. “This (expletive) has happened to us before. You know what I’m saying?”He’s right, the stuff has happened. And it keeps happening, and happening.Somehow, the Clippers have to overcome this. They have at least two more chances, maybe a third.How?“I wish I had the answers,” Redick said.The Clippers have none. These things, they keep happening. Again and again, it seems.And, remember, regardless of whether the Clippers win or lose this series, this is during the best period ever for Clippers basketball.Unbelievable indeed.center_img He stood alongside Clippers executives, saying nothing. His right hand was tucked into his front pocket. His left hand rubbed his face in disbelief.Incomprehensible heartbreakTen hours or so earlier, his team’s stock had never been higher.Even after losing Game 3, news about Stephen Curry’s knee injury meant the Clippers’ chances against the Warriors in a potential second-round series had shifted. The team already thought they had a chance; now, they had an opportunity.But this is what $2 billion buys you these days – incomprehensible heartbreak.last_img

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