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Clippers consider altering weekend travel plans to avoid Winter Storm Jonas

Clippers consider altering weekend travel plans to avoid Winter Storm Jonas
Clippers center Cole Aldrich (45), giving chase with Cavaliers forward Kevin Love for a loose ball, spent last season with the Knicks dealing with inclement winter weather. (Tony Dejak / Associated Press)

The best way to beat bad weather is to miss it.

The Clippers are considering altering their travel plans to avoid the effects of Winter Storm Jonas, which is expected to blanket the Northeast with heavy snow over the weekend.

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said his team might depart New York on Friday night after playing the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, depending on how the weather develops. The Clippers are scheduled to fly from New York to Toronto on Saturday afternoon before playing the Raptors on Sunday.

Clippers center Cole Aldrich is familiar with weather disrupting plans in New York. He played for the Knicks last season when they had a game canceled against the Sacramento Kings because of a massive storm. The teams were forced to reschedule the game and play it later in the season.

"For us, being that this is [one of the last trips] out East until the All-Star break, it's going to be good to get out whenever we can," Aldrich said Thursday. "If we've got to train, if we've got to sit on a damn bus, we've got to do whatever we need to do. We've got to get up there and play that game" against Toronto.

Feeling left out

It's official: The Clippers did not have an All-Star starter selected in fan voting for the first time since Chris Paul joined the team for the 2011-12 season.

Paul finished third among guards in voting for the Western Conference starters and forward Blake Griffin finished sixth among frontcourt players. The top two guards and top three frontcourt players in voting from each conference will be the starters in the All-Star game Feb. 14 in Toronto.

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Paul and Griffin still could be among the All-Star reserves, who will be selected by the coaches. The final All-Star rosters will be announced Jan. 28. Griffin has been an All-Star in each of the last five seasons and Paul in each of the last eight seasons.

"You want as many guys as you can to get on there," Rivers said. "It's always nice. It's a great honor for them; it's a great honor for the franchise."

Not quite ready

As expected, Griffin did not make his return from an extended injury absence on Thursday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He also won't play Friday against the Knicks.

"If you could play [Friday], you could probably play [Thursday]," Rivers said.

Griffin has increased the intensity of his workouts as he tries to return from a nearly monthlong absence caused by a partially torn left quadriceps tendon, but he's still not ready to play in a game. It's expected the soonest he might return is during the Clippers' game Tuesday against the Indiana Pacers.

"We're not going to rush it, I can tell you that," Rivers said.

The Clippers have gone 10-2 during Griffin's absence, including a 115-102 loss to the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

Money matters

Steve Ballmer's team is now worth what he paid for it, according to a Forbes valuation.

The Clippers were valued at $2 billion, according to the business magazine, the same amount Ballmer paid when he purchased the team in 2014. The Clippers were ranked as the NBA's fifth-most valuable team, behind only the Knicks ($3 billion), Lakers ($2.7 billion), Chicago Bulls ($2.3 billion) and Boston Celtics ($2.1 billion).

Forbes estimated that the Clippers are worth 25% more than they were in 2015, largely on the strength of the NBA's new nine-year, $24-billion television contract.

CLIPPERS NEXT UP

AT NEW YORK

When: 4:30 p.m. PST Friday.

Where: Madison Square Garden.

On the air: TV: Prime; Radio: 980, 1330.

Records: Clippers 27-15; Knicks 22-22.

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

Update: The vastly improved Knicks have won nine of their last 12 games to reach .500 and are chasing the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They deserve extra credit for their two most recent victories, a double-overtime triumph over Philadelphia and an overtime win against Utah. Rookie power forward Kristaps Porzingis has made Knicks fans regret booing him on draft day by averaging 14.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks.

Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter: @latbbolch

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