Clippers point guard Darren Collison, center, passes between Dallas Mavericks… (Sharon Ellman / Associated…)
Starting in place of All-Star point guard Chris Paul is not new for Darren Collison.
Playing well in Paul's place isn't new for Collison either.
Clippers fans are seeing Collison's best basketball of the season now that he is starting for Paul, who will be out up to five more weeks because of a separated right shoulder.
Collison has started 42 games over his career in place of Paul, including 37 games with New Orleans during the 2009-10 season when Paul was sidelined by ankle, knee and finger injuries.
Collison has started five games this season for Paul, including the last four. In those four games, he's averaging 17.5 points, 6.5 assists and 2.25 steals, shooting 65.9% from the field and 60% (six for 10) from three-point range.
"I just try to keep it simple," Collison said. "I've been inserted into the first unit and I play my game."
In the 42 games he has started for Paul, Collison has averaged 18.6 points, 8.7 assists and 1.6 steals. He has made 49.5% of his shots, 44.8% of his three-point tries.
Collison said he does get more quality shots when he plays with the starters, especially because opposing defenses key in on Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick.
"Obviously playing with the first unit, there are more talented players," Collison said. "Blake causes so much attention, where he's opening it up for me. Or when I play with J.J. or JD [Jared Dudley] and they are spacing the floor out."
For the season, Collison has averaged 9.4 points on 49.9% shooting (36.9% on three-point attempts), 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals.
The Clippers are 4-1 in the games Collison has started for Paul, who also missed a game in Sacramento in November because of a right hamstring injury.
"For me as a point guard, it's making sure other guys get touches," Collison said. "I know I can get my touches whenever I can. So it's just not forcing the issue and playing within the game and playing within the system."
All in the wrist
Redick said he didn't have any issues with his wrist after playing 23 minutes and scoring 19 points against the Lakers on Friday night, his first game after missing
six weeks because of a broken bone and torn ligaments in his right wrist.
"The wrist feels good," Redick said. "Any soreness I have is actually in my shoulder. Fifteen shots in 20 minutes, I was getting them up."
Redick laughed. He shot eight for 15 from the field against the Lakers.
"The wrist felt good this weekend," he said. "I've got to work through some soreness that has to wake the arm up, I guess."