Blake Griffin injury will undeniably affect the Los Angeles Clippers’ chance of beating the Utah Jazz in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. With the return of Rudy Gobert, the Jazz tied the series after a 105-98 victory over the Clippers on Sunday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Blake Griffin suffered a right big toe injury during Game 3 that will keep him out for the remainder of the NBA Playoffs 2017. It wasn’t the first time the Clippers lost Griffin in the postseason. Recalling last year, the 28-year-old power forward also suffered a season-ending injury in Game 4 of their first-round matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Blake Griffin injury affects Clippers chance to beat Jazz in first round
The Jazz played the first three games of the NBA Playoffs 2017 without Rudy Gobert. The 24-year-old French center suffered a hyperextended knee in Game 1. The Clippers grabbed the opportunity to dominate under the basket and take the lead of the series in Game 3. However, Gobert managed to return in Game 4 to rescue the Jazz.
In 23 minutes on the court, he immediately made an impact, finishing with 15 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks on 100 percent shooting from the field. The Jazz tied the series with the Clippers despite losing Gordon Hayward in the second quarter due to food poisoning. The lost simply showed how Griffin’s absence affected the Clippers’ performance.
Clippers have dominated the Jazz with Blake Griffin on the court this season. That hasn't been the case when he's on the bench. pic.twitter.com/iMPUcJHSwn
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 22, 2017
Before Game 4, the Clippers have a team meeting to watch film and discuss strategy. Griffin attended the meeting and encouraged his teammates to defeat the Jazz even without him on the court. DeAndre Jordan expressed his concern for Griffin and thanked him for his continuous support for the team.
“I feel bad for Blake,” Jordan said. “It’s always unfortunate when somebody goes out, especially a guy like that who works so hard every day on his body, on his skill set, on everything. For this to happen again, it sucks. I know that it’s something that he’s upset about. We all feel for him. But at the same time, there’s nothing we can do about it. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us as a team. We have to continue to come out and play.”
Blake Griffin injury and the 2017 NBA free agency
Blake Griffin is expected to be one of the most coveted superstars in the 2017 NBA free agency. After suffering another injury, it remains questionable if the Clippers are still interested in bringing him back this summer. Griffin has been impressive since joining the Clippers in 2009.
However, their only greatest achievement was reaching the Western Conference Semifinals. In the upcoming offseason, the Clippers may consider breaking their “Big Three” and start rebuilding the team around Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan.
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr
Video courtesy: Youtube/NBA Conference