NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, February 9th (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia 76ers (15-36) at Los Angeles Clippers (35-18), 9:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Clippers have been counting down the days for the return of Chris Paul and hope their star point guard hits the floor Sunday versus the Philadelphia 76ers.
Paul is expected to be ready for the Sixers and has been sidelined since suffering a Grade 3 AC joint separation in his right shoulder in the Clippers' 119-112 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 3.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said Paul looked great in practice Saturday.
"We plan on playing him," Rivers said.
Rivers added that Paul will need time to get his rhythm back and it could take a few weeks. Either way, Paul is expected to be back versus Philly.
Los Angeles is 12-6 since Paul's injury occurred and 13-6 overall without him this season, so the Clippers have proven they can win if he's out. L.A. is 22-15 with Paul out of the lineup as opposed to 109-59 when he plays, and fellow Clippers star Blake Griffin is looking forward to slamming more lob passes from Paul upon his return.
"You just want to add Chris into the mix with what we've built and take it from there," said Griffin, who's averaging 29.5 points in the last 11 games.
The Clippers were rolling with a 10-2 record from Jan. 6-29, then lost three of the next four games until bouncing back with Friday's 118-105 win over Toronto.
Griffin did more than enough damage with 36 points on 13-of-18 shooting. Jamal Crawford scored 21 points and DeAndre Jordan chipped in 18 and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles, which made 50.7 percent from the field and bounced back from Wednesday's loss to Miami in the opener of a five-game homestand.
"When Blake is playing like that its fun to be around that passion," Crawford said.
The Clippers are 21-4 at home this season and will also entertain Portland and San Antonio. They are 8-1 in the last nine as the host and second in the NBA with 106.4 ppg. In other injury news, Clippers guard J.J. Redick is nearing a return from a back/hip issue and is day-to-day.
"I personally don't expect J.J. tomorrow," Rivers said Saturday. "I know he told me yesterday that he was playing on Sunday but I just saw him walk down the hallway leaving the arena and I don't see him playing tomorrow. That's my opinion."
Philadelphia is mired in a five-game losing streak, which continued with Friday's 112-98 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at Wells Fargo Center.
Tony Wroten ended with 16 points, while Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner each tallied 15 points, with Hawes also grabbing 11 rebounds. James Anderson and Elliot Williams had 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Sixers, who are only 3-15 since winning a season-high four in a row from Dec. 29-Jan. 4..
"It appears we play better on the road," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "Everybody wants to do better in our city, in front of our fans."
The 76ers have lost seven in a row at home, but will now play three straight out west against the Clippers, Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz. They have a 7-18 record as the guest this season.
Philly lost the first of two meetings with the Clippers this season on Dec. 9 in a 94-83 decision in the City of Brotherly Love. Paul tallied 25 points and 13 assists in that one for Los Angeles and Turner countered with 25 points for the Sixers, losers in four straight and six of eight meetings in this series.
Philadelphia has lost six of nine and 13 of its last 18 at the Clippers.
02/09 10:21:34 ET