It's going on five years since Chris Paul was traded to the Clippers and yet these games still have an air of awkwardness around them. It's like running into your ex and hoping they're with someone less attractive than you. "Oh you have Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan now? That's nice. We have Anthony Davis, you know. He's reeeaaalllyyyy talented you've probably heard of him *hair flip*."
Unfortunately this time around New Orleans doesn't have a whole lot worth bragging about to their former point guard: they're 13 games under .500, possess the fourth-worst record in the league and are losers of their past two games. New Orleans may not even have Anthony Davis for Sunday's game; Davis is receiving treatment for a bruise on his lower back he got after diving onto some chairs while chasing down a loose ball.
Paul meanwhile, plays the part of the ex who really bettered themselves after the breakup, got in great shape and is dating a supermodel. The Clippers are the fourth seed in the West and have won eight games in a row all without Blake Griffin. Griffin has been out of L.A.'s lineup since December 27th with a partially torn quad tendon. Since Griffin's injury the Clippers are averaging 108 points a game and are holding opponents to slightly over 97 points, 43 percent shooting from the floor and 32 percent from three. Most impressive of all is that five of those wins came on the road, one of which being in the Smoothie King Center: a 95-89 victory on December 31.
The game on this past New Year's Eve was a strange one. The Clippers walked out of the Smoothie King Center victorious despite a team slashline of 38.9/29.4/78.9. Chris Paul couldn't buy a basket to save his life (3-18, 0-4 from three) but was able to hand out a dozen assists and collect five rebounds and three steals. It was J.J. Redick and DeAndre Jordan who pushed L.A. over New Orleans: Redick scored 26 points on 14 shots and DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and his 20 rebounds accounted for nearly half of the Clippers' total (47). Redick and Jordan each had offensive ratings in the 140s that night and had defensive ratings of 96 and 86 respectively.
For New Orleans that night, Ryan Anderson had the hot hand but didn't get nearly enough shots. Anderson had 17 points on 7-11 shooting, but had the fourth most shots behind Anthony Davis, Norris Cole and Tyreke Evans in that order. The aforementioned trio did combine to shoot 41 percent which is fine, but I learned at LSU that 64 percent-- Anderson's shooting percentage-- is greater than 41.
Davis also had a bit of a scoring letdown that night. Without Blake Griffin guarding him you'd think that Davis could've had anywhere from 25 to 30 points, but instead Luc Mbah a Moute was able to limit Davis to 14 points on 17 shots no less.
If I can be frank I don't see many people tuning in to watch this game. Its a 2:30 tipoff local time, which will be right in the heart of Seattle-Minnesota's Wild Card Game and run through the early part of Green Bay-Washington. Plus this game loses major sex appeal with Blake Griffin being out and Anthony Davis potentially facing the same fate. But hey if New Orleans loses and no one's around to watch it, does the game still count?
Keys to Victory
2. Hold on I'm thinking...
3. Score More Points than Los Angeles- Not entirely sure how New Orleans is going to go about this but that's all I got