Clippers losing ground as supporting cast struggles

Andy Lyons

As great as Chris Paul might be, the Clippers' success this postseason will depend on a supporting cast that's struggled in recent games.

If the Los Angeles Clippers are going to advance through the postseason, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will carry them there. Still, they could probably use a little help along the way.

Heading back to L.A. tied 2-2 with the Memphis Grizzlies in their first-round series, the Clippers have a chance to advance to the conference semifinals for a second straight season behind the efforts of Paul and Griffin. Such success would truly be a testament to the greatness of those two players considering how little help they've gotten.

Entering this season, it appeared that the Clippers had finally surrounded their franchise players with championship-quality support. Powered by veteran additions such as Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes, the team won its first division title in franchise history, giving the team home-court advantage this postseason.

However, the past two games have to leave fans seriously concerned about the Clippers' chances. If the start of this series is any indication, this team's supporting cast is a legitimate issue.

After being fairly productive in the first two games of the series at Staples Center, even Paul has been unable to get his teammates going on the offensive end. The combined shooting numbers from Games 3 and 4 bear out that frustrating reality.

Crawford: 7 of 21 (33 percent)
Barnes: 5 of 14 (36 percent)
Chauncey Billups: 3 of 14 (21 percent)
Eric Bledsoe: 3 of 12 (25 percent)
Caron Butler: 3 of 10 (30 percent)
DeAndre Jordan: 2 of 6 (33 percent)

Beyond Paul and Griffin, those were the Clippers' top six scorers during the regular season. In the past two games, all six have given the team practically nothing, leaving Paul to scramble against a defense designed to create exactly this situation.

The Clippers are still a major threat in this postseason, simply because they have the third-best player in the NBA and that will forever mean something in the postseason. But if they really want to make some noise and challenge the West elite, they'll need a supporting cast that steps up to supplement his effort.

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