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With Patrick Beverley injured, Clippers go quiet against Mavericks

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers talks with guard Reggie Jackson.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers talks with guard Reggie Jackson during the second half on Wednesday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
(Kim Klement / Associated Press)

At the time when the Clippers could use his room-rattling voice, Patrick Beverley was back on the Clippers’ bench, his mouth stuck behind a silver face covering.

Less than one game into being a complete team, the Clippers have had their rhythm disruptor, their loudest voice — and, depending on who you ask, their most persistent heartbeat — sidelined once again with a calf injury.

Without one of their leaders — certainly their most chatty — the Clippers never competed consistently, as the Mavericks evened their playoff series with a 127-114 victory.

Beverley, according to Clippers coach Doc Rivers, didn’t move well during the Clippers’ morning shoot-around. He had been limping on the court late during his team’s win Monday in Game 1 against the Mavericks.

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The Clippers are unsure when he’ll be able to return.

“Obviously, it’s something that has lingered,” Rivers said pregame. “But I have no sense whether he plays next game or this is one of those things that takes a week or so. I just don’t know.”

Beverley originally injured his left calf on Aug. 4 in a seeding game against the Phoenix Suns, and he didn’t play during the team’s final five seeding games before playing 20 minutes Monday.

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“Look, he’s a terrific player,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said pregame. “He brings certain elements that are unique to their team. But they’re very deep.”

The Clippers started Reggie Jackson in Beverley’s place, but so much of what the veteran guard does is irreplaceable. Beverley’s averages are modest — 7.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists — but his impact on winning is immense.

During the regular season, the Clippers won 75% of their games with Beverley in the lineup (39-13). When Beverley sat, which happened 21 times, the Clippers were just a game over .500 (11-10).

That influence on winning without putting big numbers in the box score led Rivers to give Beverley one of his favorite compliments.

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“He’s extremely un-statable, because … just his temperament. He holds everyone accountable defensively,” Rivers said. “He probably talks the most on defense for us as well, so this is not a loud team. You obviously would like us to be loud, for more guys to talk, and whenever we don’t have Pat, if you look at our numbers, they haven’t been great.”

And on Wednesday they weren’t great again. Against the NBA’s top offense, the Clippers couldn’t contain Luka Doncic. They couldn’t close out on the Mavericks’ other shooters. And they couldn’t stop fouling, putting Dallas on the line whenever it seemed the Clippers might make a run.

Could Beverley have changed any of it? Maybe.

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But the Clippers have to prepare for the possibility that, at least for the near future, he might not be physically able to.

With Beverley out of the lineup, Clippers star Kawhi Leonard said afterward, “It can affect the chemistry but we should be a team that when a man goes down a man steps up. And that’s what we gotta do.”

Woike reported from Los Angeles.


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