A promising showdown of the NBA's best two teams started on a sour note Tuesday when Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro announced shortly before tipoff against the Thunder that star guard Chris Paul would not play because of a bruised knee.
Paul, one of the league's premier point guards, currently ranks second in the NBA in assists at 9.7 per game to go along with his 16.6-point average. Led by Paul, the Clippers had compiled a 32-10 record entering Tuesday's game.
Eric Bledsoe started in Paul's place.
BLAKE GRIFFIN GETTING BETTER
Former OU and OCS star Blake Griffin entered Tuesday's game averaging a team-leading 18 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Clippers, but both are career lows.
Yet the widespread belief is that Griffin has gotten better.
“He's expanded his game offensively,” said Nick Collison. “He's more skilled. He's better in the post. He's a better midrange shooter. He's always been a crazy athlete, but I think Chris Paul helps him out, too. He gets him the ball where he can make easy buckets.”