LA Clippers Begin Life Without Blake Griffin For 3-6 Weeks

Posted by Michael Hunt on Tuesday,December 20, 2016 8:06, EDT in

The Los Angeles Clippers host the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night in their first game without All-Star power forward Blake Griffin. He was to undergo cleanup knee surgery on Tuesday and will miss anywhere from 3-6 weeks. Does that make the Clippers bad in NBA betting while he’s out?

LA Clippers Begin Life Without Blake Griffin For 3-6 Weeks

L.A. Has Been Struggling

The Clippers were the best team in the NBA for a while as they started 14-2 but are just 6-6 since and have covered only three of those 12 games. L.A. blew a seven-point fourth-quarter lead against the Wizards on Sunday in a loss. Griffin had 26 points through three quarters and none in the fourth. He did move past Elton Brand into third place on the Clippers all-time scoring list. Griffin has 9,352 points. Randy Smith ranks first with 12,735. Bob McAdoo is second with 9,434.

On Tuesday, Griffin was to undergo arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies from his right knee. Of all the surgeries to have, arthroscopic is the least invasive so Griffin could realistically meet the earlier end of this initial timetable. As long as he’s out of commission, the Clippers are likely to turn to Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass and Marreese Speights for additional minutes The short side of Griffin’s timetable would have him out about 12 games. On the high end, the Clippers could be without him for 20 games.

Griffin is averaging 21.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game this season. He is one of four in the NBA averaging 20+ points, 8.5+ rebounds & 4+ assists this season. The others are Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. Griffin is part of the second-most lethal five-man lineup in the NBA as the Clippers’ starting five of Griffin, Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Luc Mbah a Moute and DeAndre Jordan are outscoring opponents by 16.2 points per 100 possessions when those five are on the court. The group is sixth with a 111.5 offensive rating and third with a 95.3 defensive rating.

Injured Griffin Nothing New

Griffin had surgery on his right knee in his freshman season at Oklahoma in 2008 and had a procedure for a fractured left kneecap as a rookie with the Clippers in 2010. He missed 15 games during the 2014-15 season after developing a staph infection in his elbow and sat out for more than three months last season from a quadriceps injury, a broken bone in his right hand sustained punching a member of the Clippers’ training staff and a team suspension for the altercation. Then he suffered an injury in the playoffs that ended his season as the Clippers were upset in the first round by the Portland Trail Blazers.

L.A. might be just fine here. The Clippers went 31-16 (.660, better than their overall win percentage) without Griffin last season and 9-6 (.600) without him in 2014-15. Paul averaged 21.0 points and 10.5 assists in the 44 games he played without Griffin last season, as compared to 17.5 points and 9.1 assists when both were in the lineup.

Expect Coach Doc Rivers to go with a small lineup with Griffin out, moving Mbah a Moute to power forward and putting his son, Austin, in the starting five for a three-guard lineup with Paul and J.J. Redick.