DALLAS -- Los Angeles Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul left Friday's game in the third quarter with a sprained right shoulder and did not return, but teammates DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin still delivered a tough road win, 119-112, over the Dallas Mavericks.
DALLAS led 110-103 with 4:06 left in the game, but the Mavericks managed just two more points. Griffin, a forward, took over late, completing a three-point play with a free throw, then hitting a pair of free throws for a 115-112 lead. He finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Jordan, a center, also had 25 points with 18 rebounds. He made 11 of his 14 shots.
Los Angeles moved to 23-12, but the more immediate concern is the state of Paul's shoulder. He was fouled by Mavericks guard Monta Ellis on a dribble drive and dropped to the floor. He remained there for a few minutes holding his right shoulder as medical personnel examined him. He walked off the floor and headed straight for the locker room. The team announced shortly after that Paul, who had scored 19 points, including going 5-for-6 from 3-point range, would not return.
It was Paul who got the lethargic Clippers back in the game late in the second quarter. The Clippers didn't lead until a Griffin dunk 90 seconds into the third quarter. Paul went down at the 6:43 mark with Los Angeles holding a 77-75 lead. The teams jockeyed back-and-forth throughout the third with the Clippers holding an 89-87 lead heading into the final 12 minutes.
The Mavericks sprinted to a 13-point lead in the first quarter with sizzling shooting and fast-breaks as the Clippers seemed to be sleepwalking through the opening minutes. DALLAS kept up its blazing shooting throughout the first half, hitting 60.4 percent of their shots, including 8-for-15 from beyond the arc.
The only problem was Los Angeles woke up and found little resistance from the Mavericks' defense. The Clippers went 9-for-17 from long range in the first half to stay in the game.
DALLAS led 61-50 with 5:01 to go in the first half when Paul heated up. A pair of free throws followed by a pair of 3-pointers made it 61-58 with 3:13 to go. His fifth 3-pointer without a miss tied the game at 67 with 59.9 to go. DALLAS point guard Jose Calderon hit his third 3-pointer of the first half on the next possession to at least allow the Mavericks to keep a small lead, 70-67, at halftime.
Forward Dirk Nowitzki, gave DALLAS a 112-110 lead with a fall-away jumper, but he could not convert on several later opportunities. He led DALLAS with 24 points. Forward Shawn Marion had 20 points, Ellis had 13 and Calderon finished with 11.
NOTES: Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki was in the starting lineup after being a game-time decision due to a sprained left ankle sustained during the first quarter Wednesday night at Washington. He left that game briefly but returned and played the rest of the way. ... Mavericks F Shawn Marion became the 82nd player in NBA history to reach 17,000 career points with his first basket. ... The game featured two of the four active coaches who have won championships with the Mavs' Rick Carlisle and the Clippers' Doc Rivers. The other two are San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Miami's Erik Spoelstra. ... The Clippers entered the game 8-9 on the road, a record Rivers said he is not terribly disappointed with, saying, "I think half the teams in the league will take that. I just want better than that. I think you have to get better as a team first and then you'll win road games."