Feb 1, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) is fouled on his way up to the basket by Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) at the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Clippers 98-73. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
The Boston Celtics play the Los Angeles Clippers in an early game at 1 p.m on Super Bowl Sunday. There have been reports that Chris Paul is likely out today, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
If the Celtics face a Clippers team without Chris Paul, they’ll have one less player to focus their attention on. The keys for this game will be stopping Blake Griffin, Deandre Jordan, and Jamal Crawford. Crawford is the Clippers third leading scorer scoring 16.5 points per game behind Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The C’s know he’s going to shoot the ball so they’ll need to keep a body on him. I wouldn’t be surprised if Avery Bradley was on him as opposed to Eric Bledsoe for the whole game.
Blake Griffin is going to need to be kept in check as well. Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass will have their hands full with Griffin. In his last 10 games, Griffin is averaging 21.5 points per game, 8.6 rebounds per game and 4.9 assists per game on 51% shooting, per ESPN.com. He’s a very versatile power forward that can do damage to you in multiple ways. His post game has become one of the best in the NBA, his ability to handle and pass the ball well is unlike anything we’ve seen in a while, and lets not forget that he’ll dunk on your head if you aren’t looking. The Celtics have to rough him up and keep a body on him to make sure that he doesn’t get off.
The C’s will go a long way in this game if they can force Eric Bledsoe into having a bad game. With this team the point guard is the central figure in the offense. Of course, it’ll be going through Blake but Eric Bledsoe has to get him the ball. He’s going to have it in his hands for quite some time as well–especially in transition. The Celtics have to force Bledsoe into bad spots. Let him take jump shots and force him to turn the ball over. His handle isn’t as tight as you’d want it to be, so it’s possible to turn him over more often than not.
I think that at the end of the day, the Celtics will handle this Clippers team well. Since Rajon Rondo went down, they’ve been more attentive at both ends of the floor and they’ve been sharing the ball a lot between each other. They’ll win this game, 95-88.