The Dallas Mavericks were not very welcoming in their home Friday night as they hosted the Los Angeles Clippers. The Mavericks started out strong and withstood multiple runs by the Clippers which included 19 first-half points from Chris Paul. Yet, in the end, the Clippers rallied to a bitter sweet victory against the 2011 NBA Champions, while a third quarter injury to Paul sent the All-Star to the locker room indefinitely.
An inadvertent trip sent Paul crashing to the floor, separating his shoulder in the process. Initial reports has the Clippers best player sidelined for 3-5 weeks. No time is a good time to lose the NBA’s assist leader. The Clippers have been less than stellar in the past few weeks and losing the only player on the Clippers’ roster that can truly run their offense is unfortunate for the Pacific Division leaders at 23-12 with the young Golden State Warriors just a game behind.
Paul’s impact can be seen through the dominate play of teammates DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. It took a combined 50-point, 33-rebound effort from the frontcourt tandem, which included a career-high 25 points from Jordan to seal the deal in Dallas. The Clippers overall balance was impressive in their seven-point win, but career numbers can’t be expected to win every game, hence the phrase “career numbers.”
In Paul’s absence, backup point guard Darren Collison anchored the Clippers to victory. Collison, an underrated on-ball defender, has the foot speed to lead fast breaks as a finisher and contributor, but he lack Paul’s court vision which will prove costly in his absence. Paul sees the floor better than anyone playing his position. His eyes are always looking up, allowing him to find creases in the defense.
Collison has a tendency to accelerate with his head down preventing him to take advantage of the cracks that defenders often leave when their backs are to the ball. The split second it takes for Collison to look up, an assist becomes a turnover.
The Clippers’ offense will slow while Paul recovers from his injury. Hopefully they will understand the urgency on the defensive end to keep the ship above water.
ChristopherBrown is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @whatrockschris. Like him on Facebook. Christopher-Rant Sports.