Clippers come up with workarounds with Blake Griffin out

Clippers come up with workarounds with Blake Griffin out
Clippers guard Chris Paul reacts after dunking the ball during the first half of a game against the Wizards. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

The Clippers have pushed on since Blake Griffin went down with a partially torn left quad tendon, winning both games without their All-Star and leading scorer.

But by no means are they taking Griffin's absence for granted, knowing how difficult their task is without their star power forward.


The Clippers won at Salt Lake City on Saturday night and at Washington on Monday night.

Next up, on Wednesday, is a good Charlotte Hornets team for the Clippers, who didn't practice Tuesday.

"Regardless of when we win, we're trying to pile wins up," Chris Paul said after the Clippers beat the Wizards. "But we ain't going nowhere without No. 32 [Griffin]. So, we take this with a grain of salt."

In Griffin's absence, Paul and DeAndre Jordan have taken on more prominent roles, both aware of how important their leadership is now.

But the Clippers' reserves also have helped make up for Griffin's absence; their bench scored 54 points against the Wizards.

"We figured out how to have kind of a system in how we play," sixth-man Jamal Crawford said. "No one guy is trying to be the hero. Everybody is chipping in a little bit more. I think when we do that, we're at our best. I think it's hard for other teams to scout us as well because they don't know where we're coming from."

Thinking of threes

Finally, the Clippers were able to use a three-guard alignment with their reserve guards against the Wizards.

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he "had been waiting to do it," but Austin Rivers missed three games with a sprained right ankle.

But with the younger Rivers returning Monday, Doc Rivers was able to play his son with guards Crawford and Pablo Prigioni.

And it was successful.

"The reason we get away with it is because Austin can guard the one [point guard], two [big guard] or the three [small forward]," Doc Rivers said. "We just put him on them and then we put Pablo on the second-best guy and put Jamal on the third guy. And so it works for us."

When Rivers first used the three-guard lineup in the first quarter against Washington, Crawford replaced guard J.J. Redick, Austin Rivers subbed for forward Luc Mbah a Moute and Prigioni for Paul.

Crawford provided the scoring, Rivers the defense and Prigioni ran the offense. They were able to help the Clippers extend their lead up to 15 points in the first quarter.


"It opens the court and gives us so much more space," Crawford said after Monday night's game. "When you do that, you have different guys attacking.… It just opens the whole floor."



When: Wednesday, 4 p.m. PST.

Where: Time Warner Cable Arena.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 980, 1220.

Records: Clippers 19-13, Hornets 17-13.

Record vs. Hornets (2014-15): 2-0.

Update: Chris Paul will face another young point guard in Kemba Walker, who leads the Hornets in scoring with an average of 18.5 points a game. The Hornets have one of the best benches in the NBA, with their reserves averaging 39.2 points a game, tops in the Eastern Conference and fifth-best in the NBA.