DALLAS -- Los Angeles Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul left Friday night's game midway through the third quarter with a separated right shoulder that team officials said could keep him out of action for a minimum of three weeks.
"He's down. He's out at least 3-5 weeks and maybe more," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "We don't know that (yet). We know it's a separated shoulder. We don't know what grade it is yet. We'll probably send him home and he'll get evaluated in L.A., and just hope that he's going to be OK."
"I just think Blake and DeAndre, they just killed us on the boards. They've got those two big guys and I know it's a load, but we've got to do a better job. That was a tough one. I thought we had a good chance of winning it. Even in the second half we started out with a lot of aggression and they made their run and they won the ballgame."
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.
"We had to step up and everybody had to do their part and that's what everybody did," Griffin said. "It was a great team win. There were certain guys that played individually great, but it was a great team (win) and everybody did their part. Everybody had a role in bringing us back."
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 with 6:43 left and Los Angeles leading 77-75.
The teams jockeyed back-and-forth throughout the third quarter with the Clippers up 89-87 heading into the final 12 minutes.
Forward Dirk Nowitzki gave DALLAS a 112-110 lead with a fall-away jumper late in the game, but he could not convert several other opportunities. He led DALLAS with 24 points. Forward Shawn Marion had 20 points, Ellis had 13 and Calderon finished with 11.
"We gave up a 16-2 run to end the game. As hard as we worked to get the lead back up to seven in the fourth, we just gave it up too easy," Nowitzki said. "Defensively, they went right through us and offensively, without getting stops, the shots got harder. It’s on every one of us, coaches and players, and it’s very disappointing because it was an opportunity lost."
NOTES: Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki was in the starting lineup after being a game-time decision because of a sprained left ankle sustained during the first quarter on 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."