Chris Paul is talky. It isn’t necessarily bombastic, and it isn’t always intended to provoke. Much of it is in the form of sound advice and vital information: An on-court message to a teammate during a timeout telling him how to be of better service on a high pick, a positive counsel to another teammate who’s frustrated by a mental mistake on defense.

Of course, some of the talk is pure gamesmanship. While dribbling upcourt past the visitors’ bench, Paul has been known to tell an opposing coach that he’s already sniffed out the staff’s game strategy. And nobody works game officials like Paul, who can litigate a call like Clarence Darrow.

He directs almost all the talk at people, which makes sense because it is really just interpersonal communication. That's also what made it a little jarring when Paul yelled -- not at a person, but at the cosmos when he separated his shoulder in the third quarter of the Los Angeles Clippers’ win at Dallas last Friday. He was mad at the world. Confining him to the sideline when there’s work to be done? Absurd.

With Paul in street clothes, the Clippers have to hold their ground in a conference of juggernauts without their conductor, which means someone has to take over the controls. The team is only three games into Paul’s three-to-five-week stint on the shelf, but the Clippers’ two leading big men, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, appear ready. Combined, they don’t project the vocal intensity of Paul, but what they lack in volume they can make up in expression, verbal or otherwise.