DALLAS -- Rick Carlisle knows his team will have to be at their optimum best Tuesday night when the Dallas Mavericks play host to the Los Angeles Clippers at 8:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center.
Lob City -- one of the monikers associated with the Clippers because of their penchant for dunking -- has been known to embarrass a team or two with their innate ability to play above the rim.
"From top to bottom they’re as an athletic team and a talented team as you’re going to find in this league,'' Carlisle, the Mavs' coach, said after Monday's practice. "Chris Paul is the best point guard in basketball in my opinion.
"There are some other guys that are really good, too. But the game comes down to our ability to mitigate some of their paint activity, and keep him out of there, keep them from lobbing the ball, and keep them from getting a lot of second shots.''
The Clippers dunked their way to a 112-90 victory over the Mavs on Dec. 5. The Mavs played better when they met on Jan. 9, but still lost, 99-93.
"We played a better game the second game against them, but in the end the rebounding got us and the untimely turnovers are always a problem,'' Carlisle said. "Taking care of the ball is huge in this game -- it sets up a lot of things.
"Defensively we’re going to have to throw a lot of different guys at Chris Paul. (Blake) Griffin is getting better and better.''
While Carlisle is obviously impressed with the Clippers' starting lineup, he also heaped high praise on their reserves.
"Their depth is, I think, very underrated if you look at this whole league,'' Carlisle said. "They have a 10-man rotation and their second team off the bench is a very formidable group.
"It could be a starting team in a lot of situations in this league.''
-- Dwain Price
Follow me on Twitter