Prior to Monday night’s game against the Orlando Magic at Staples Center, Los Angeles Clippers all-star point guard Chris Paul addressed the media for the first time since separating his right shoulder in last Friday’s win over the Mavericks in Dallas.
Saying he was done feeling sorry for himself after being put on the injured list for six weeks, Paul and head coach Doc Rivers said he would become a part-time assistant helping out from the bench.
So far, so good with Paul handling bench duties in street clothes.
Before the Magic (10-24) knew what hit them, the Clippers (24-13) jumped out to a 20-3 first quarter lead and never looked back beating Orlando, 101-81.
In Paul’s stead handling the point guard duties, ex-UCLA star Darren Collison led six Clippers in double figures with a team-high 21 points and dishing out seven of the team’s 30 assists.
“I’m just going to play my game, you can’t be Chris Paul.” Said Collison. “I’ve got to play my game and do what I do best. The one thing you can count on is I’m always going to play my best.”
A “hold your breath moment” for the Clippers came in the second quarter when Collison was knocked down hard hitting the ground with all his weight on his right arm. He laid writhing in pain but walked off on his own power and was okay immediately returning to the game.
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan had another monster game knocking in 14 points along with grabbing 17 rebounds and blocking eight shots.
“I really don’t have a lot of responsibility on offense, I mean, besides screening and running.” Jordan said after the ballgame. “But I really take a lot of pride down there because I know that’s something I can control. I can control how many touches I want to get.”
The Clippers held a 60-34 lead at halftime and extended that lead in the third quarter to as many as 35 points.
Orlando only had 38 points midway through the third.
“They’re a great team.” Said Magic forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis who grabbed eleven boards and scored nine points in the loss. “You think about the loss they just had against the Spurs, (about) 40 points? You know they were going to come out and play extremely hard and they did. You could feel the intensity.”
Clippers forward Blake Griffin added 16 points and eight boards in the win. Jamal Crawford added 13, Willie Green had 11 and Antawn Jamison poured in ten in the win.
Rookie Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 22 points.
The Clippers return to the Staples Center floor Wednesday night when they host the Boston Celtics.