LOS ANGELES • A potential National Basketball Association (NBA) Western Conference semi-final between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors could see two star point guards out injured.
The Clippers did not just lose Game 4 of their first-round play-off series with the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday at the Moda Center. They lost their point guard, leader and best player, too.
Chris Paul left the game in the third quarter of the Trail Blazers' 98-84 victory with a right hand injury and did not return. X-rays showed a fractured third metacarpal and he might be sidelined for the remainder of the play-offs.
As if Paul's injury was not bad enough news for the Clippers, star forward Blake Griffin also left Monday's game with a sore knee.
Coach Doc Rivers said both players would be examined by team doctors.
"He (Paul) will get re-evaluated tomorrow but it doesn't look good. Chris is taking this very hard," he said.
Asked about Griffin, he said: "It doesn't look great for him either. We will see about that tomorrow."
Paul has been the Clippers' most influential player, averaging 19.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 10 assists this season. It remains to be seen how his team can cope without him, with the series against the Trail Blazers tied at 2-2.
Should the Clippers progress, they could face the top-seeded Warriors, who lead their series against the Houston Rockets 3-1.
The Warriors have announced that the league's reigning Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry has undergone an MRI scan which showed a Grade 1 sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. He would miss at least two weeks of the play-offs and there is no guarantee that he is able to return to action right away.
Curry tweeted: "Thanks 4 all the prayers & messages. Can feel all the positive energy... All things considered I'm gonna be alright!"
At the Moda Center, Portland's Al-Farouq Aminu scored a career-high 30 points. He made 11 of 20 shots from the field, including six of 10 from three-point range.
C.J. McCollum added 19 points, and Mason Plumlee contributed two points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists.
Griffin had 17 points and seven rebounds before leaving the game in the fourth quarter. Jeff Green added 17 points off the bench for Los Angeles, and Paul scored 16.
Paul left the game with his injury with the Clippers trailing 52-58.
Green nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer to narrow Portland's advantage to 64-66 after three quarters.
But the Trail Blazers outscored the Clippers 11-4 to start the fourth quarter, going ahead 77-68. The difference was 84-72 with 51/2 minutes to play. The Clippers - who had led the series 2-0 - got no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE