Source: (Hashtag Basketball - Brian Han)
(LOS ANGELES, Calif.) -- Unless Los Angeles Clippers Center DeAndre Jordan starts dunking from the three-point line to spark a new era in the NBA, it's time for the team to go home.
Southern California's only playoff hope also happens to be literally going home for Game 5 of the series against the rejuvenated Portland Trailblazers after losing their two star players in guard Chris Paul and forward Blake Griffin Monday night.
Look. I hate to say I told you so, but while almost everyone else said Griffin was "still shaking off the rust" and "looking better every day," a few of us told you something seemed noticeably off as early as Game 1.
Proof: Blake Griffin Train Slows Down after Injury Concerns
The 27-year-old hobbled after taking a routine jump shot in the fourth quarter, took to the bench while rubbing his left quadricep, then left the game early with discomfort that is obviously related to the health issue that kept him out for over 50 games this past season.
On the other hand, Chris Paul's injury occurred in a slightly less subtle fashion. His finger caught the jersey of Portland guard Gerald Henderson, Jr. and broke. A third metacarpal fracture in his shooting hand no less.
Wave goodbye to that much anticipated head-to-head matchup between Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry and CP3 in the second round.
Well, it was technically over after Steph busted up his knee on Sunday in a freakish sweat-related incident. But still, this is like requesting a Batman performer for your five-year-old's birthday party and a drunk Jar Jar Binks shows up instead (No offense to guards Shaun Livingston and Austin Rivers, although All-Star snubbed Damian Lillard is seeming like the more probable candidate). It's not even in the same fictional universe, people!
How Paul reacted while heading to the locker room is exactly how your kid would, too, in the previously mentioned scenario.
"Chris is taking this very hard," Head Coach Doc Rivers told reporters after the game. "He's worked all year to get back to the playoffs, and for this to happen to him - he's a very emotional guy."
The way things are looking after Game 4 of the Clippers' series, Portland is going to take this series anyway.
Three-point sniper J.J. Redick is battling his own injury in the form of a bruise left heel and it shows. The normally sharpshooting guard is 5-for-25 shooting in his last two games. Now, he doesn't even have the critical piece in Paul who deftly sets up his shots and no complementary scoring threats to distract the opponent's defense.
Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford started jacking up low-percentage jump shots to nobody's surprise and the odds played out the way they should, which resulted in him going 5-for-16 from the floor.
Griffin attacked the paint a lot more in Game 4, which exploited Portland's defensive woes, but it took a toll on his left leg and now his health is in jeopardy once again.
To DeAndre Jordan's defense, he stayed aggressive on the boards and racked up 16 rebounds (seven of which were on the offensive side of the court) while the rest of the team slowly crumbled around him.
But... he also completely airballed two free throws, so there's that.
Somewhere in Los Angeles, Steve Ballmer's face just permanently turned beet red and the rest of the city shares his pain.