PAUL ON INJURED HAMSTRING: ‘I’M GOOD’
PLAYA VISTA – Of all the people that might be concerned about his strained right hamstring, Chris Paul is not among them.
On Wednesday prior to practice, he dismissed any notion of reticence about the injury, repeatedly saying, “I’ll be ready.”
Through the first two games in the series, Paul has put up gaudy all-around numbers, scoring at least 12 points to along with at least six rebounds, eight assists and four steals in each game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he’s one of only four players in NBA history to put up those statistical minimums in two straight postseason games and the first since Clyde Drexler in 1985.
And he’s done it by playing through a hamstring injury that Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said looked like it got a “little tight” in the second half of Game 2. Rivers said Paul will not take part in much of Wednesday’s practice.
“We’re not going to do anything with him,” Rivers said. “There will be zero contact for him and maybe zero for Chris. He’ll watch film.”
Paul has spent most of the last two days between Games 2 and 3 going over film, and resting.
“Having a couple of days between games to get a chance to obviously look at a lot of film and get a little rest,” Paul said.
Asked again about his hamstring, Paul added: “I’m good. As long as I’m out on the court I’m OK.”
Paul has battled nagging injuries all season. He missed a game on Nov. 29 with strained left hamstring, sat out 18 games with a separated right shoulder and played through groin and thumb injuries. Still, he led the NBA in assists and steals and was selected to his seventh All-Star Game in nine years.
It’s also the third consecutive postseason with the Clippers that Paul has dealt with some form of injury in the opening round. However, he has never missed a Playoff game during his time in L.A.
In some ways, it’s a mind over matter.
“I love that approach,” Rivers said. “I think your mind is strong sometimes. I just think right now with him we just have to monitor it. I just have to watch his movement in the game and if he’s fine, he’s fine.
“The only way you find out with injuries is you have to go out and play.”
JORDAN FINISHES FIFTH IN MOST IMPROVED VOTING
For the second time in three days, DeAndre Jordan learned that he did not win one of two postseason awards that were within reach.
The NBA announced Wednesday morning that Goran Dragic was named the league’s Most Improved Player. Jordan finished fifth in the balloting with 66 total points, including four first-place votes, while teammate Blake Griffin had six first-place votes and finished seventh.
Jordan, who led the NBA in rebounding, field goal percentage and dunks, and was third in blocked shots, was widely considered a leading candidate for most improved as well as Defensive Player of the Year after a breakout 2013-14 regular season.
He finished with 42 double-doubles, more than three times better than his previous career high of 12. He had the fifth best year-to-year improvement in rebounds per game in the NBA in more than 50 years, jumping from 7.2 boards in 2012-13 to 13.6 this season. He was one of 10 players in the league to average a points-rebounds double-double, including a career-high 10.4 points per game.
On Monday the league announced Joakim Noah was the winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award. Jordan was third, 45 points behind Indiana’s Roy Hibbert for second.
“I felt like he deserved [them],” Paul said of Jordan missing out on both awards. “But we’re playing for something bigger than that and I think he understands that and so does the rest of our team.”
2013-14 KIA NBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER AWARD
1st Place (5 Pts) 2nd Place (3 Pts) 3rd Place (1 pts) Total
Goran Dragic (Phoenix) 65 25 8 408
Lance Stephenson (Indiana) 13 24 21 158
Anthony Davis (New Orleans) 16 21 12 155
Gerald Green (Phoenix) 16 7 16 117
DeAndre Jordan (Clippers) 4 13 7 66
Kyle Lowry (Toronto) 2 8 9 43
Blake Griffin (Clippers) 6 1 6 39