Chauncey Billups was brought over for these moments, with Chris Paul watching, injured, from the sidelines. Big Shot Rob he used to be called, and Billups delivered with a game winning shot, beating the buzzer to give the Los Angeles Clippers a 91-89 win over the Dallas Mavericks, who lost both LA games in a similar fashion.
No Chris Paul? No problem, as back-court depth is something of a specialty for the Clippers this season. Randy Foye started instead of Paul, dishing 6 assists but finding scoring field goals quite difficult (2-10). Mo Williams, who came over last year via trade from Cleveland came up big instead, scoring 26 in a fantastic shooting display (11-15).
Caron Butler was awful playing against his former team, shooting 1-12 from the field, finishing with only 2 points. Blake Griffin struggled inside against all the big bodies Dallas threw at him, with his inability to score with his back to the basket continuing to be a stepping stone he has yet to conquer in his development. He finished with 14 points and 17 rebounds, while DeAndre Jordan, with six offensive rebounds, finished with 19 points.
Too many offensive rebounds, as usual, allowed by the Mavs. The Clippers grabbed 16 of them, over a third of the balls hopping of the Mavs’ hoops. Vince Carter didn’t get to play, and Dirk Nowitzki, shooting 6-18 from the field, led the cold Mavs with 17 points. Lamar Odom, you ask? 5 points, taking only four shots.
As we’ve praised the Clippers plenty of times recently, their defensive ability, or more correctly put, defensive effort, has vastly improved as the season is about to complete its first month. Their offense has slowed down, but they’re still finding ways to win. Giving Billups the ball in money time was the key this time, as Billups, who hit 5 three pointers on Wednesday, finished with 21 points.
The Bench will continue to be a problem for the Clippers, as far as finding substitutes for Griffin and Jordan being the matter. Reggie Evans had -13 next to his name while Solomon Jones clocked only 4 minutes. The Clippers can go small for a short while, but in the long run, with a team that suddenly has aspiration of more than just reaching the playoffs, they need more.
But the big thing was winning without their best player, adding yet another brick of confidence, as Mo Williams put it – We beat a good team tonight without our best player, so it was big for us, confidence-wise. I mean, you’re going to have your games like Utah, where we just didn’t get off the bus and wasted jet fuel. But for us, to be able to do these things that we’re doing, we’ve got veteran guys that relish these moments. We don’t call Chauncey ‘Big Shot’ for nothing.