Had Chris Paul not scored at all, had he not finished drives and swished 3s and capped it all by crossing over Joakim Noah to nail a game-clinching 3-pointer, he still might have dominated the game. At a time the point guard position has been overstuffed with talent and redefined, Paul made old school new again.
Paul so masterfully controlled the game, he might have been able to come and go without scoring and won the MVP anyway.
That might have a been a tad out beyond his playmaking wizardry, especially with Western Conference teammate Kevin Durant scoring 30 points including a series of fourth-quarter slams as the West put the game away. But from the opening minute, Paul maneuvered through the Eastern Conference All Stars, setting up slams a easily as a dunk contest partner to lead the West to a 143-138 win on Sunday and to win the MVP.
A game that seemed about everything that happened above the rim was taken over by the player most glued to the floor.
“Pretty special. Pretty special,” Paul said. “It’s something I’ve never done. It’s something that I definitely coming into the game (was) trying to achieve or thinking might even be possible. I told KD early in the first quarter, if they score anything, you just run. I’m going to get you the ball. I want to be the one to give it to. Games like this are so up tempo and fast paced, a guy like me as a facilitator, I enjoy games like this.
“I watch basketball all day, every day. Day in and day out, just watching basketball. I was talking to Pop, I could tell him the entire offense. As you get older, you have to start playing with your mind. I’m far away from dunking. I have to play with my mind.”
More than enjoy the night, though there was plenty of that, he demonstrated how he has transformed the Clippers and emerged ahead of the swelling crowd of elite point guards. He finished with 20 points, 15 assists and four steals, launching the predictable run of slams. His 15 assists were exceeded in All Star history only by Magic Johnson (who has the record of 22) and Isiah Thomas.
“For me, in games like this it’s uptempo,” Paul said. “You just want to play fast. I like to throw lobs. I like to see guys hit 3s. When you’re out there on the court with all that firepower, why wouldn’t you like to play fast. You got KD filling one of the lanes. You got Blake (Griffin). You got Kobe on the wing. There’s nothing like it.”
All-Star MVP Chris Paul set game’s pace
Houston Chronicle | Feb 18