Update: Reports have Griffin missing the rest of playoffs
Blake Griffin injured his right big toe early on in Game 3 against the Jazz on Friday night, Kristina Pink, the Los Angeles Clipper’s sideline reporter, confirmed. However, the Clippers would go on to defeat the Jazz 111-106 while Griffin was not on the floor.
“X-Rays showed no break,” the Fantasy Doctor’s Dr. Selene Parekh said. “ The best case scenario is that he has a toe bruise, which would just cause him to be day-to-day. The worst case scenario is if he suffered a turf toe injury, which would cause him to miss two to four weeks.”
The hope is that he will be able to return before the series ends, but it seems like that may not be a reality.
After the Jazz lost Rudy Gobert, many thought the Clippers had the clear advantage in the series now that Griffin was able to attack the rim more easily. Losing the team’s leading scorer will force Los Angeles to generate offense from elsewhere on the roster. From the outside looking in, both team’s losing their most productive big men should bring both team’s down to an even playing field.
But Andrew Lynch of Fox Sports believes that the injury to Griffin may actually free up the Clippers offense and make them a better team. He claims Griffin’s offense, which is comprised of mainly attacking the rim, is not as effective in today’s league. Having both starting big men live inside the paint can limit the versatility of an offense.
The Clippers decided to go with a smaller lineup to combat losing Griffin. Coach Doc Rivers called on an old ally to step up, Paul Pierce. The Truth played 21 minutes in Game 3 after playing more than 20 minutes just once during the regular season. However, Pierce predictably did not look like anywhere close to what Rivers deployed back in Boston. He had no points, three rebounds and a steal on just one field goal attempt. He will need to brush the dust off if he wants to be more effective.
Mareese Speights also saw an uptick in minutes once Griffin went down. He had eight points and two rebounds in 19 minutes of action. Expect the Clippers to go small with Gobert injured and should therefore not seek to stretch its minimal depth at the power forward position. But Speights may have more offense to provide than Pierce these days.