Maybe the question confronting the
Perhaps it wasn't about who would replace
Would they come out with the intensity of a playoff elimination game, as if their season depended on winning? Could they zip the ball from one player to another until someone was as open as a 24-hour diner? Did they have the defensive wherewithal to hold a dynamic offensive team under 100 points?
The Clippers compiled close to a complete game during their 115-98 victory at
"Every single night, no matter who we play, no matter who's playing, who's not playing, we just need to have that energy," Clippers forward
The Clippers won big in the finale of their eight-game trip despite
Jamal Crawford (22 points) provided the scoring the Clippers needed to offset Griffin's absence and
"The ball movement, it might've been as good as we've moved it," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. "There was a stretch with eight passes, nine passes, seven passes, over and over. The ball just found the open guys and we made the shots."
Of course, Dallas wasn't exactly at full strength with
Chandler's departure opened up the paint for Jordan and he took advantage of it with eight baskets; he also grabbed 11 offensive rebounds.
But just as no one was going to put off playing the Clippers until Griffin's return, the Clippers weren't about to go easy on the Mavericks. Especially on defense, where they held Dallas to 40.7% shooting and 29.4% on three-pointers.
"We have a lot of weapons on the offensive end," Barnes said, "but I don't think we can let the offense predicate how hard we play on defense. If we're missing shots, we've still got to have that energy on defense and I thought [Monday], although we made shots, our energy on defense stayed consistent."
Energy is one thing the Clippers will need to muster on an almost nightly basis with 10 of their next 14 games against teams on pace to make the playoffs, starting Wednesday night against the
The Clippers are expected to play at least eight of those games without Griffin, who tweeted Tuesday he would "be setting a record for most consecutive @Netflix minutes watched."
If his teammates continue to play the way they did against the Mavericks, Griffin can keep Mel Brooks' "High Anxiety" off his playlist.