Darren Collison kept Clippers on track while Chris Paul was out

Clippers point guard Darren Collison averaged 13.3 points and 6.5 assists per game during Chris Paul's injury absence.
(Jeff Kowalsky / EPA)

Darren Collison’s job when Chris Paul sat out 18 games because of a separated right shoulder was to help the Clippers stay the course without their All-Star point guard.

Collison did, leaving Clippers Coach Doc Rivers to say they “weathered the storm” with Paul down.

Paul was back in the starting lineup Sunday night against the Philadelphia 76ers and Collison was back playing with the second unit.

“DC was the key,” Rivers said. “He logged a lot of minutes. Some of the things that he was doing well for us he couldn’t do anymore. He couldn’t pressure the ball anymore.


“One of the reasons we wanted him is because he could pick the ball up and shorten the clock. Well, when you’re playing 35 minutes, you’re not going to be picking the ball up anymore, and he didn’t. That’ll be nice to see again if we can get back so that second unit can be an energy group now again for us.”

As a starter during Paul’s absence, Collison averaged 13.3 points per game, 6.5 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 32.6 minutes.

He shot 47.4% from the field, 43.1% from three-point range and 89.5% from the free-throw line.

The Clippers went 12-6.

“With DC, we were basically down to a single point guard team and DC was it,” Rivers said. “We were using Jamal [Crawford] as the backup. We signed [Darius Morris] to [two] 10-day contracts and used him as a backup. So it was a tough stretch for us. We weathered the storm, obviously.”

Perhaps even more impressive is that Collison has been playing most of this stretch without Paul with a strained left big toe.

Collison played in pain most nights.

“He has not mentioned it,” Rivers said. “I think he’s gotten better. It’s not 100%. I know that.”

Redick still out, Turkoglu back

Clippers starting shooting guard J.J. Redick sat out his third straight game with a sore right hip.

But Hedo Turkoglu, who missed the last game with a bruised right knee, suited up Sunday night.

Rivers said Turkoglu practiced Saturday but labored.

“He didn’t look great,” Rivers said. “He was still limping around.”