The Los Angeles Clippers had an outstanding finish to the week, welcoming back Chris Paul in the process. After losing to Denver and Miami to start the week the Clippers rebounded with consecutive victories over Toronto and Philadelphia, the latter marking the return of Chris Paul. The Clippers star point guard returned earlier than expected, helping the Clippers blow out the 76ers 123-78.
Week Recap: The Clippers kicked off a week with a visit to Denver to take on the Nuggets at Pepsi Center. Blake Griffin had another massive game but the Nuggets pulled out the victory on Randy Foye’s three point shot at the buzzer. Foye’s deep three pointer came just six seconds after Matt Barnes hit a three on the other end of the court to give the Clippers a 115-113 lead. Griffin, playing the best basketball of his career in the absence of Paul had 36 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. Following the tough defeat in Denver the Clippers had the tough task of returning home to STAPLES Center to face Lebron James and the Miami Heat. The NBA was treated to one of its best games of the season as James and Griffin put together tremendous individual performances.
The Clippers made a valiant effort to overcome a big Miami third-quarter lead, but they couldn’t quite make it all the way back. The story for the Clippers was Griffin, who had a season-high 43 points in the loss. It was Miami’s first win at STAPLES Center in six seasons. James had 31 points, 12 assists, and 8 rebounds for Miami. It was a tough second consecutive loss for the Clippers, putting them half a game behind the Houston Rockets for the fourth playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Clippers rebounded from the Miami loss with consecutive victories over Eastern Conference foes Toronto and Philadelphia.
Saturday night Blake Griffin again scored over 30 times, this time with 36, to become the first Clippers player to score more than 30 in three straight games. The Clipper’s momentum continued into Sunday night when they scored an incredible 46 first-quarter points en route to easily defeating the 76ers behind another strong performance from Blake Griffin.
The Week Ahead: The Clippers have a light schedule heading into next week’s All-Star weekend with just one game, an important matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night. The Blazers are currently a game and a half on top of the Clippers for the third playoff spot in the west. Los Angeles is a half-a-game ahead of the Houston Rockets, currently on a five-game winning streak. Following the All-Star Break, the Clippers return home for a key game versus the San Antonio Spurs before heading off on a three-game road stretch that includes a key game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Over the next two weeks the Clippers will face each of the three teams ahead of them in the Western Conference standings, giving them an opportunity to make up ground. Chris Michaels.
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