It’s always great to see elite point guards going head to head. Chris Paul left only dust in the face of Rajon Rondo in this clash, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to a 120-100 win over the Dallas Mavericks.
At home, the Clippers are scary, playing pressing defense and fast basketball which leads to their high flying ways which have made this team one of the more fun to watch in the league over the last few seasons. But as they try once more to come out of that “attractive & fun” shell and become a real threat on the NBA title, bumps in the road constantly appear. Maybe their recent run of six wins in eight games with wins over the Mavs and the Warriors suggests their on the right way.
The Clippers started quickly and simply turned up the tempo as the game grew longer, with the Mavericks falling behind. If you wanted an example of why Rondo is shade worse than Paul and other point guards people like to throw into the discussion of best in the league? He finished with 2 points on 1-of-11 from the field. He wasn’t the only one playing badly for the Mavericks, but Rondo’s uniqueness make him a double edges sword, who can make a team fall apart on a bad shooting day without giving up on taking bad shots.
Chris Paul himself was fantastic with 17 points and 13 assists, one of six players in double figures. Blake Griffin led his team with 22 points, followed by Matt Barnes with 18 points, J.J. Redick with 16 points and DeAndre Jordan with 13. Jamal Crawford scored 19 points off the bench, but most of the good work was done during the minutes of the starting lineup, with four of the five players having a +/- of +20 or better.
Things were exactly the opposite for the Mavericks, who seemed to be blaming the officials at the end of the game. Joey Crawford had to leave the game and the game was officiated by two referees. The Mavericks felt things were going against them, and Rick Carlisle was ejected in the third quarter after arguing a call regarding a foul on Tyson Chandler. It didn’t help his team in any way – not firing them up nor giving them focus.
Two very good teams with a lot of offensive talent and still trying to work out things on defense. In the crowded and top heavy West, it’s only good enough to be in the bottom half of the playoff teams. However, while Rick Carlisle is probably the better coach between himself and Doc Rivers, the Clippers can make up for it by having a huge advantage when it comes to floor generals, as Rajon Rondo showed once more he’s miles behind Chris Paul and others in that category.