The Los Angeles Clippers haven’t missed much of a beat since Chris Paul went down with a shoulder injury on Jan 3. They’ve accumulated a 10-3 record and have been the best offense, statistically (scoring 113 points per 100 possessions), in the last 10 games behind strong play from Darren Collison (13.3 points and 6.3 assists) in that stretch.
But that can only last for so long, right? I mean, eventually the Clippers would like to see Paul return, regardless of how well they’ve been playing as a team. On cue, Dan Woike of the Orange County Register answers that question.
Sources: Chris Paul is aiming to return on either Feb. 7 (vs. Toronto) or Feb. 9 (vs. Philadelphia). Paul has been out since Jan. 3.
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) January 31, 2014
That would also happen to come about a week before the All-Star break, meaning that he will likely play in the exhibition game as well. Most importantly, it appears that Paul will be back to 100 percent for the stretch run.
For much of the season, the Clippers have somewhat fallen short of expectations placed by the media and fans. When Doc Rivers was hired, we immediately made the Clippers automatic contenders but they haven’t really hit their stride at all this season.
Los Angeles is in the fourth seed of the Western Conference right now, and if they can’t get to the third seed, they’re looking at another stiff playoff road. As is, they’re looking at a first round matchup against the Houston Rockets and if they get by them, a second round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. That’s as tough as it gets for them.
Still, the return of Paul can change all that. And it appears that will begin sooner rather than later.