The Mavericks have made a nice living in recent weeks with Mike James as the starting point guard and Darren Collison coming off the bench.

They are 8-3 since James moved into the lineup.

Starting Tuesday, however, their job gets much tougher. The Los Angeles Clippers bring star point guard Chris Paul with them. Unlike past years, he has not been a terror against the Mavericks this season. In two meetings, he’s averaged 12 points, 9.5 assists and five rebounds.

But he remains the engine that drives the Clippers’ dunk show.

“Top to bottom, they’re as athletic and talented of a team as you’re going to find in this league,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Chris Paul’s the best point guard in basketball in my opinion. There are some other guys who 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.”

It’s going to take more than James and Collison, but they will be the first line of defense against Paul.

Another elite point guard, Deron Williams, rolled up 31 points last week against the Mavericks. Russell Westbrook had 35 before that. Those are the last two games the Mavericks have lost.