DALLAS – Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle expects to see a different Los Angeles Clippers team tonight than the one everyone is accustomed to seeing.
With Blake Griffin out for tonight’s game against the Mavs because of a staph infection in his right elbow, those lob dunks which the Clippers have made popular will likely be minimized. But when tonight’s game tips off at 7:30 at American Airlines Center, Carlisle knows Clippers coach Doc Rivers will shuffle the deck and comprise a game plan which will make it difficult for the Mavs to extend their winning streak to three games.
"They’re going to play a different style of ball,’’ Carlisle said after Monday morning’s shootaround at AAC. "I expect them to be very small for a great majority of the game and they’re going to make it a quickness and a 3-point game and we’re going to have to scramble.
"You can’t underestimate a team with Chris Paul as the quarterback and Doc Rivers as the coach.’’
While Griffin is slated to have surgery today, the Mavs (35-18) aren’t sure about the status of Clippers (33-19) guard J.J. Redick, who has back spasms.
"It's a great team in the Clippers, even though they have a couple guys down,’’ guard J.J. Barea said. "But they're still a great team that's playing good and we have to come off our big win the other night (against Portland) and keep it rolling."
The Clippers started point guards Austin Rivers and Paul during Sunday’s 131-108 loss in Oklahoma City. The duo combined for 27 points on 11-of-22 shooting, and also added 14 assists and five steals.
"You have to try to contain them as much as you can, make them take tough twos, try to keep them out of the paint and make them find other shooters,’’ Barea said. "That's pretty much it."
Carlisle agreed with Barea’s assessment of Paul and Rivers.
"You try to take the paint away,’’ Carlisle said. "It’s important because if they get paint penetration they’re going to get guys on the perimeter loose for threes.
"We’re going to be in a scrambling mode all night. I expect them to play small a lot this game.’’