L.A. Clippers at Phoenix Suns
U.S. Airways Center
January 24, 2013 7:30 p.m. PST
Chris Paul is probably out, but the good news is that the Clippers are in Phoenix. Maybe there can be some strange, physical recovery osmosis Paul can get from that training staff. If not, we still have 3-on-3:
1. Larry King claims Chris Paul is out for two weeks. Is a timetable relieving or concerning?
Jordan Heimer, (@jordanheimer): Two weeks terrifies me. So do the words “bone bruise.” Are these estimates, diagnoses, or euphemisms for “We hope it stops hurting soon”? Ask Eric Gordon about being two weeks away.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): It’s concerning. Very concerning. Incredibly concerning. Scarily concerning. Down-on-my-knees-praying-for-just-a-little-bit-of-help concerning. Two weeks is a long time. Go away, J.J. Redick.
Jovan Buha, (@jovanbuha): A timetable is relieving, but the diagnosis is concerning. Paul out two weeks has dire implications — just a few losses could be the difference between a one-seed and a three-seed.
2. Who is the most impactful Phoenix player tonight?
Heimer: Luis Scola has the face of a Don Martin character and the shoulders of a lineman. Like many an earthbound, fundamentally sound rebounder before him, Scola will punish the Clips bigs if they get sloppy boxing out.
Katz: Michael Beasley missed the previous Clippers-Suns matchup, but dropped 21 points on 11 shots when Phoenix visited the Staples Center. If Beasley once again hits four threes, that’s bad news for the Clips.
Buha: Jared Dudley, if only because the Clippers can’t seem to close out on good wing shooters. I don’t see Dragic, Scola or Gortat posing as individual threats.
3. True or False: Blake Griffin will lead the team in assists tonight.
Heimer: True. Watching Blake learn to read the defense from the post has been one of the season’s pleasures. He knows when you are helping, he knows when you’re staying home, and the guess here is that the shooters get hot enough to fill up Blake’s assists tonight.
Katz: True. The Paul-less Clippers have been running their first-quarter offense through Griffin and he’s come out facilitating. If the Clips keep up that offense for a whole game, Griffin could be on triple-double alert.
Buha: True. I see a six-to-eight assist night for Blake. Besides Paul, Griffin is the best passer on the team. His court vision is the most underrated aspect of his game and it puts him in a rare class of big men that can create for others off the dribble.