Looking at how the Clippers are faring without Blake Griffin

Injured Clippers forward Blake Griffin, right, hugs teammate DeAndre Jordan during the Clippers' loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

The Clippers have been without their superstar power forward for seven games now, winning four of them.

The team said Monday that Griffin is expected to miss at least one more week after having surgery Feb. 9 to remove a staph infection from his right elbow.

Without his 22.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists a game, the Clippers have fared surprisingly well.


After losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Feb. 8, the Clippers won four games in a row, beating the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 9, the Houston Rockets on Feb. 11, the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 19 and the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 21. They’ve dropped their last two games to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday and the Rockets on Wednesday, but both of those games were very close and could have gone either way.

The silver lining for the Clippers throughout all of this is that the players have had a chance to improve as individuals, without relying on their superstar to bail them out. The last seven games have been a real team effort, without different players shining in the different contests.

DeAndre Jordan has had two 20-20 performances in Griffin’s absence, against Dallas and Houston, and two more near-20-20 performances -- against the Spurs, when he finished with 26 points and 18 rebounds, and against the Rockets, when he finished with 22 points and 19 rebounds.

Austin Rivers led the Clippers with a career-high 28 points on 11-for-19 shooting in their win over the Kings. Chris Paul led the Clippers with 30 points and 10 rebounds against Memphis, as the Clippers lost the game in the final seconds after Mike Conley stole the ball from Paul with 1.9 seconds left, turning a one-point deficit for the Clippers into a three-point hole. And on Wednesday, it was Jamal Crawford who led the Clippers with 24 points, scoring 18 of them in the first half.

The hope for the Clippers is that when they get Griffin back, the team will have improved without him, making a team that is expected to be a legitimate playoff contender even better.

The Clippers are one-game into a four-game trip. They play at Memphis, Chicago and Minnesota before returning home to host the Portland Trail Blazers on March 4.