The Clippers are hurting.
No, not because they blew a 15-point lead last night on their way to a 112-105 loss to the Dallas Mavericks (although that certainly can’t help things, either).
They’re hurting physically.
Franchise cornerstone Blake Griffin suffered a left elbow contusion after being thrown to the ground late in the third quarter Tuesday night by the Mavericks’ Brendan Haywood. He returned in the fourth, but scored just one point in over four minutes of action.
It was also announced Tuesday that Eric Gordon, the Clippers’ leading scorer, may miss the next three to four weeks with a chipped bone in his wrist.
However, you can’t tell the Houston Rockets (21-25) about injuries.
They’ve been without their own franchise’s cornerstone, Yao Ming, for all but five games since May of 2009 due to a pair of foot and ankle injuries. He is out for the remainder of this season, and is career may be in jeopardy.
Bumps, bruises and all, the two teams will face-off Wednesday night in Houston for the second time this season.
Houston took the first round 97-92 at Staples Center on December 22.
In Tuesday night’s loss to Dallas, Griffin notched his 36th double-double of the season, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. However, he scored 12 of his points in the first quarter.
The length of Dallas’ seven-footers (Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood) gave Griffin some problems after the first, and his impact on the game suffered as a result.
Without Yao in the middle, Houston lacks a true shot-blocking threat.
The combination of Baron Davis, Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes helped pick up the scoring load in Gordon’s absence (the three combined to score 50 points), but the Clippers just couldn’t stop the Mavericks’ offensive showcase in the second half.
Dallas outscored the Clippers by 15 after halftime, and shot 50 percent for the game.
The Clippers shot a blistering 55 percent from the floor, but, as always, were undone by turnovers.
L.A. turned the ball over 24 times leading to 34 Dallas points. Dallas turned it over just 14 times.
The Rockets are 5-5 in their last 10 games, and defense has been an issue for them all season long.
They rank 26th in the league in opponent scoring per game, but fourth in their own scoring.
With or without Griffin Wednesday night, the Clippers will have their hands full, as the Rockets boast plenty of offensive firepower.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers, and covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for ProSportsBlogging.com.