Coach Doc Rivers thinks Chris Paul needs to assert himself more often. The All-Star point guard may have to against the up-tempo Brooklyn Nets.
Paul looks to build on his best scoring performance of the season Monday night when the Los Angeles Clippers look to continue their home success against the Nets.
Paul, fourth in the league with 9.5 assists per game, is averaging 19.8 points but has taken on a bigger load lately with Blake Griffin still sidelined. Paul has averaged 26.7 points and 11.3 assists over the last six games.
"I always think he should be more aggressive every night," Rivers said.
Paul certainly was Friday, scoring 40 points with 13 assists in a 117-107 win at Sacramento. Despite an injured forearm, sore left calf and bruised left thigh, Paul attempted 20 field goals and 10 free throws in the same game for the first time this season.
"Just play. Just play. Once they throw up the ball, everything else is out the window," said Paul, who hit 13 of 20 from the floor and made all 10 of his foul shots.
The Clippers (38-20), who have alternated wins and losses in their last six games, have won 10 of the past 11 home matchups with the Nets.
Paul had 15 points and 14 assists in a 105-100 win at Brooklyn (17-42) on Dec. 12, but he may need to do more scoring with the Nets playing at a quicker pace under interim coach Tony Brown.
The new scheme has Brooklyn averaging 104.9 points over its last nine games - nearly eight above its season average - while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 44.3 from 3-point range.
It has the Nets in position for a three-game winning streak for the first time this season after forcing 21 turnovers and making 12 steals in each of the last two games, including a 98-96 win at Utah on Saturday.
"The pace that we want to play with - we're doing it," guard Donald Sloan said. "The looks we want to get - we're getting those. All in all, each game we're getting more fluidity with what we're trying to play."
Thaddeus Young is finding a comfort level, sinking 18 of 27 from the floor while totaling 39 points over the last two games. The forward had a team-high 18 points against Los Angeles in December.
The Clippers might have Austin Rivers back after missing nine games with a broken left hand.
"I've been shooting for the past week, been doing a lot of shooting, a ton of therapy every day, hours of therapy every day," Rivers told the team's official website. "It feels strong. I'm a quick healer. I'm very fortunate.
"My shot feels great. I feel like I have good wind, but I just want to get back with the team. I'm ready to get back."
The guard is averaging a career-high 8.1 points.