The Clippers are in the midst of a four-day break — and a weekend off — before their next game Wednesday night at Staples Center against the Dallas Mavericks. They beat the Mavericks earlier this month, overcoming the loss of point guard Chris Paul, who suffered a separated right shoulder in the third period. The Clippers then hit the road for their annual Grammy trip, playing seven games in 11 nights, including games at New York on Friday and Indiana on Saturday.
The week behind
Staples is truly home sweet home. The Clippers beat Orlando, Boston and the Lakers last week, giving them four consecutive home wins and a 17-3 record at Staples. Only the Indiana Pacers (18-1) have a better record in their arena. Since the 2011-12 season, the Clippers are 72-21 at Staples, the fourth-best home record in the NBA.
Record and standings
The Golden State Warriors are keeping the pressure on the Clippers in the Pacific Division, trailing by one game as the season nears its halfway point. At 26-13, the Clips have a one-game advantage over the Warriors and currently are fourth in the Western Conference, behind San Antonio, Portland and Oklahoma City.
The Clippers’ performance since the loss of Paul has been commendable. They’re 3-1 since he went down, in part because backup Darren Collison has stepped up but mostly because forward Blake Griffin has been spectacular. In his past four games, Griffin is averaging 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists and has made 33 of 56 shots.
It’s tough to find fault with much of anything the Clippers have been doing lately, but coach Doc Rivers hasn’t been pleased with his second unit. Part of the problem has been injuries that forced Collison and Jamal Crawford into starting roles, but with J.J. Redick back from injury, Rivers can now put Crawford back with the reserve group where he’s likely to have a bigger impact off the bench with his scoring.
Player to watch
In the Clippers’ 36-point rout of the Lakers on Saturday, perhaps the most startling development was Redick’s ability to contribute quickly. Showing no rust from a six-week absence as a result of a fracture and torn ligament in his right hand, Redick made his first two shots and four of his first five to finish the first period with 10 points. A healthy and rejuvenated Redick gives the Clippers a long-range scoring threat and strengthens the team’s bench.
None of us can replace (Chris Paul)…we just have to step up, and we need it from everybody.
-- Blake Griffin
Stat of the week
Darren Collison considers himself a defensive specialist, but his offensive play since Paul went down has been impressive. Collison has scored 20 or more points in two of his past four games, but his shooting has been off the charts: 23 of 41 (including 9 of 12 against the Lakers) since taking over for Paul, 56.1 percent.
"It’s one of those situations where none of us can replace CP (Chris Paul) because of the type of player he is. We just have to step up, and we need it from everybody." — Blake Griffin