Clippers win at Dallas but lose Chris Paul to a separated shoulder
DALLAS — Chris Paul hurried out of the Clippers’ locker room Friday night, his separated right shoulder in a black sling, a frown on his face, knowing that he could be out three to five weeks while recovering from the injury.
After their 119-112 win over the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center, the Clippers said that the All-Star point guard would remain with them for Saturday night’s game in San Antonio and then would be reevaluated Sunday after the team returns home.
An X-ray taken during Friday’s game revealed that Paul had suffered a separation, but Coach Doc Rivers said the team would await more details after further testing to find out “what grade” the injury is.
“We have to find out what is the injury,” Rivers said. “Is it three weeks, two weeks, five weeks? That has to do with what your decision-making is and that’s why we have to find out as soon as possible.”
The Clippers found a way to be win Friday after Paul went down holding his right shoulder and was taken to the locker room with 6 minutes 43 seconds left in the third quarter.
Blake Griffin came up with 25 points and 15 rebounds and made 11 of 13 free throws, five of five in the crucial fourth quarter, when the Clippers erased a seven-point deficit in the final four minutes.
DeAndre Jordan had a career-high 25 points plus 18 rebounds and three blocked shots, and Darren Collison stepped in for Paul and had a season-high 20 points.
The Clippers found a way after their defense got stronger in the fourth quarter. They were down 110-103 with four minutes left, but outscored the Mavericks 16-2 the rest of the way.
“That’s a great win for us,” Rivers said.
Paul was injured when he came off a high screen set by Jordan and was fouled by Monta Ellis. He tumbled to the court holding his shoulder. Jasen Powell, the Clippers’ head athletic trainer, escorted Paul to the locker room.
Paul had 19 points on five-for-eight shooting, making five of six three-point attempts. He also had six assists and three rebounds before he left the game.
Collison will start at point guard in Paul’s place, but Rivers is not sure who will be the backup. Maalik Wayns is the backup point guard right now, but Jamal Crawford also will play in that role.
Because the Clippers have the maximum roster of 15 players, they can’t add another player unless they waive someone.
But the players they had Friday did the job after Paul went down.
Jordan’s basket and free throw with 3:08 left pulled the Clippers to within 110-108. A three-point play by Griffin gave them a 113-112 lead, and two Griffin free throws made it 115-112 with 1:11 left.
After two more defensive stop, Crawford made two free throws with 11.9 seconds left for a 117-112 lead.
“Chris is one of the better leaders of this team, especially on offense,” Jordan said. “It was tough when he went down.”
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