In the last matchup of a six-game road trip, it's understandable that Griffin wouldn't fully have his legs. Griffin didn't make a single shot he attempted outside of five feet -- except for two free throws. Griffin is the Clippers' young workhorse and he can take a beating, but head coach Vinny Del Negro may be riding him just a bit too hard.
Sometimes there's a danger in waiting too long. Paul decided to let Caron Butler and Griffin do most of the heavy lifting throughout the game and saved himself for the final period. That's fine for most nights, but Paul's uncharacteristic turnovers in this one put the Clippers in a hole they couldn't quite climb out of.
The Clippers couldn't give Butler a championship ring tonight like Dallas did, but they gave him the next best thing: plenty of shots. Butler has a tendency to start off games hot and cool down late, but it's a good fit for what his point guard wants to do. Butler paced the offense early with a barrage of 3-pointers, and narrowly missed the potential game-winner late.
The Clippers have followed a specific formula this season that has been centered around getting more possessions than their opponent. Against Dallas though, the Clippers coughed it up 19 times and put themselves at a definite disadvantage against a Mavericks offense that is tough enough to stop. Fatigue leads to mistakes, and that's what hurt the Clippers most in this one.
After a rough start to the year, some were quick to cross Dallas off their list of championship contenders. It's probably time to put them back on. With Dirk Nowitzki returning to form and hitting big shots like he did tonight, the Mavericks showed that they have the depth to succeed in the regular season -- and the star to carry them when it matters most.