With 6:43 remaining in the third quarter, every Los Angeles Clippers fan was holding their breath as Chris Paul walked to the locker room clutching his right shoulder. Just a few minutes earlier, Paul was tripped by Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis as he was driving towards the basket. Towards the end of the game, word came out that Paul had a separated shoulder and could miss 3-5 weeks of playing time.
The Clippers were able to come back from a 13-point deficit to defeat the Mavericks 119-112. However, the more pressing issue is how the team will fare without their All-Star point guard. Before his departure halfway through the third quarter, he had already scored 19 points and had six assists.
The assists led the team, and the points were fourth-highest behind Darren Collison‘s 20 points and the 25 points each from Deandre Jordan and Blake Griffin. Now think about the fact that he left with over 18 minutes to play in the game, and you realize how valuable his production is for this team.
Just look at these numbers: he is averaging 19.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 11.3 assists and 2.5 steals in over 35 minutes of action each night. He is second in the NBA with 26 double-doubles and has assisted on 135 of Griffin’s 285 field goals. The Clippers are 11-3 this year when he scores at least 20 points in a game as well. Paul also has the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the league at 4.45.
All of this adds up to a valuable piece to a championship contender. Now take him away for 3-5 weeks, and you have a team that could drop in the standings. They currently sit in the fourth spot in the conference, but they are only three games ahead of the eighth-seeded Mavs. Hopefully for the Clippers, he’ll only be out three weeks.