In the 37 wins Chris Paul took part in during the regular season, he averaged 9.4 assists per game, which so happens to be 0.3 assists more than his per game average.
And in the 23 losses in which he participated, he averaged 8.4 assists per game. Some of his highest assist games took place in losses, but so did most of his lowest assists games. The point is that as a general rule, the Clippers offense is better when Chris Paul is facilitating.
That is a rather obvious statement.
But even more to the point, Memphis intentionally forced Paul to score more on Wednesday and took away passing lanes and other ways of getting the ball to teammates. Obviously Paul is more than able to score. Truth be told, he could score just about every possession if he wanted to; he's that good.
But he knows his team is always going to play better when he's getting others involved. For one of the few times this season, Paul began Game 2 looking for his own shot. Early on the strategy looked to be working, but it was a trap, fool's gold if you like.
By the time Paul and the Clippers recognized the trap, Memphis had seized momentum and taken the Clippers' primary scorers out of their comfort zone. The result was a flustered Clippers offense.
Fewer shots, especially early on, will force players such as Randy Foye and Nick Young to pick up the slack. But it will also get the entire team into a better rhythm and allow Paul to ease into his role as a scorer.
Statistics can be funny, but his 29 points Wednesday night hurt the team, whereas his 14-point, 11-assist effort on Sunday night was more of what the team needed. But even that effort required an amazing comeback.
The real answer is some early dime-dropping followed by some late-game scoring heroics, if necessary. That's the Chris Paul that has been effective in this lockout-shortened season. It's the same Chris Paul the Clippers need in this series.