Paul's passing guides West to win

Paul's passing guides West to win
February 18, 2013, 1:15 am
Share This Post

Saturday was all about the guys who dunk the basketball.

Sunday was about a guy who makes that all possible.

Chris Paul had a very Chris-Paul-like performance in the All-Star Game on Sunday night, leading the Western Conference to a 143-138 win at the Toyota Center.

Paul scored 20 points, but more impressively, he dished out 15 assists on his way to winning the MVP trophy.

“Pretty special. Pretty special,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve never done. I definitely didn’t come into the game trying to achieve it or think that it might be possible.”

Paul’s game lends itself to the All-Star Game. There’s not a lot of defense, the teams like to play run-and-gun style and Paul just wants to get them the ball. He’s the ultimate facilitator.  

“I told (Kevin Durant), ‘if they score anything, just run’ I just want to be the one to get it to you,” Paul said. “Games like this, it’s so fast-paced, a guy like me a facilitator, gets it to other people. I enjoy that.”

Paul said the kind of offense he was able to help run in the All-Star Game isn’t all that different from the one he runs with the Clippers. It’s just that there was even less defense on Sunday.

“I think in games like this, it’s fast pace, it’s up-tempo,” he said. “You just want to play fast. I like throwing the lob, I like to see guys hit threes. You have all that firepower, why wouldn’t  you want to play fast?”

But don’t think that Sunday was all about Paul and passing. There were plenty of dunks. From both sides. Blake Griffin threw down a few mesmerizing dunks, as did Durant, who finished the game with 30 points.

Per usual, the first half of the game was all about scoring. There wasn’t much defense to be found until the second half, when both teams tightened up in a close game and tried to get the win.   

“I think we played good defense as a team …” Durant said, “at the end of the game.”

Perhaps the most notable defensive play came from Kobe Bryant, when he rose up and blocked LeBron James. He blocked LeBron James!

“Does that surprise you? That’s what those guys live for,” East coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s what we were all hopeful for, that at least this game would be close coming down the stretch, so at least it’s compelling basketball.”

Paul’s scoring is actually what put the game away for good though. He hit a couple big three-pointers at the end of the game and finished with 15 points. Paul said he wasn’t necessarily trying to score, he was just wide open, so he shot the ball.

James Harden was able to play after not being sure of his status all weekend because of an ankle injury. He scored 15 points in the win.

“It was a very special weekend, it being in Houston,” Harden said.