DALLAS – No one will blame the Dallas Mavericks if they lost a lot of sleep worrying about Chris Paul.
The Los Angeles Clippers’ point guard has been on a tear lately, causing players all around the NBA to suffer from insomnia.
In the Clippers’ 11 games since the All-Star break, Paul has recorded eight double-doubles. That includes games where he went for 22 points and 16 assists against San Antonio, 22 points and 14 assists against Houston, 28 points and 12 assists against Chicago, 36 points and 12 assists against Portland, and two games against Memphis where he accumulated 30 points and 10 assists, and another game against the Grizzlies where he went for 19 points and 13 assists.
"He’s playing as well as anybody in the league,’’ Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "He’s the guy that makes them go.’’
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The Mavs (41-25) will try to corral Paul and slow him down when they battle the Clippers (42-23) tonight at 7:30 at American Airlines Center.
"We’ve got to do a good job on him,’’ Carlisle said. "We’ve got to take him out of easy scoring opportunities and you’ve got to prevent him from getting other guys involved with easy shots.’’
It’s a task that will start with Rajon Rondo defending Paul, and will continue with Devin Harris and J.J. Barea getting their chance at slowing down the 10-year veteran from Wake Forest.
Paul averages 18.4 points, is first in the NBA in assists (10.1 per game) and tied for eighth in steals at 1.82 per contest. In other words, he’s a load at both ends of the court. He’s also the main reason the Clippers – 2-0 against Dallas this season – will be trying to go for their first season sweep of the Mavs tonight since the 1993-’94 campaign.
"He’s always getting other guys involved, but his pull-ups have been deadly, and he’s getting in the paint.’’ Harris said. "He’s doing a lot of different things to make them go.’’