C.J. Wilcox (left)/photo by Associated Press
It wasn’t surprising to hear C.J. Wilcox talk about playing with point guard Chris Paul after the Clippers on Thursday drafted him with the No. 28 pick in the first round.
“Everyone watches Chris Paul; he’s the best point guard in the game,” said Wilcox, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard out of University of Washington. “He came and worked out with us up in Agoura Hills one time and it was good to see him in person, good to go against him and compete against him.
“I think that helped me get a sense of how he plays in person. I’m really excited. I know he’s really good at finding guys and getting in good positions to succeed. I think that’s going to help me in the long run.”
Point guard Chris Paul was selected first-team All-NBA and power forward Blake Griffin made the second team, the NBA announced Wednesday. It was the fourth first-team selection of Paul’s career.
Joining Paul on the first team are forward Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City, forward LeBron James of the Miami Heat, center Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls and guard James Harden of the Houston Rockets.
Durant was the only player to be selected to the first team on all 125 ballots; James was first-team on 124.
Joining Griffin on the second team are guards Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, forward Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves and center Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets.
Point guard Chris Paul has been selected to the NBA’s All-Defensive first team for the fourth time during his nine-year career.
Paul, who led the league in steals with a 2.48 average, received 64 first-team votes. Joining him on the first team are Defensive Player of the Year center Joakim Noah (105 first-team votes) of the Chicago Bulls, forward Paul George (65 first-team votes) of the Indiana Pacers, forward Serge Ibaka (54 first-team votes) of the Oklahoma City Thunder and guard/forward Andre Iguodala (57 first-team votes) of the Golden State Warriors.
Voting consisted of a panel of 123 sports writers and broadcasters.
The second team is made up of forward LeBron James of the Miami Heat, guard Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets, guard Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls, forward Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs and center Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers.
Photo by the Denver Post
Point guard Chris Paul has now been in the NBA for nine seasons. But he’s never made it past the second round of the playoffs, and that is something he said during this recently concluded post-season that he really wants.
With that in mind, let’s examine the 2013-14 campaign he put together. Paul averaged 19.1 points, a league-high 10.7 assists and a league-high 2.48 steals. Not a darn thing wrong with any of those numbers, even though none represents a personal best. With scoring machines like Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford around, it would have been difficult for Paul to surpass his highest scoring season of 22.8 set in 2008-09 with the New Orleans Hornets.
If anything, the one thing Paul showed that may have been somewhat surprising is that – gasp – he’s human. In 62 regular-season games – he missed 20 games because of injury – he had the league’s best assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.57.
During the first four games of the Western Conference semifinals against Oklahoma City, Paul had committed just six turnovers while doling out 46 assists. But in Game 5 at Oklahoma City, he had a very uncharacteristic five turnovers – two down the stretch that played a big role in his team losing the game after it led by 13 points with just over four minutes to play and by seven with 49.2 seconds left.
Paul and the Clippers were not able to rebound from that, and lost the series in Game 6 at Staples Center.
Since Paul doesn’t really have to improve upon any particular part of his game, all he really has to do moving forward to next season is forget about what he called the toughest moment of his basketball life in the Game 5 post-game news conference.
If Paul can do that – and the feeling here is he will – he will be able to use that experience as a springboard toward the success he and every other NBA player wants to reach – the NBA Finals.
Paul is under contract with the Clippers through the 2017-18 season, so he’s not going anywhere. He will make $20,068,563 in 2014-15.
Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul, Hedo Turkoglu (8), Jamal Crawford (11) and Blake Griffin (32) walk back to their bench in the closing minutes of a 118-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors during the second half in Game 4 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series on Sunday, April 27, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
After the Clippers’ emotional 105-104 Game 5 collapse to the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road, where Los Angeles squandered a 13-point lead in the final four minutes of play, point-gaurd Chris Paul took the blame.
Paul’s stretch of play in the waning moments would make no highlight reel. Paul turned the ball over with 17.8 seconds left that led to the controversial out-of-bounds call involving Reggie Jackson and the Clippers’ Matt Barnes call with 11.6 seconds left.
After the review kept the ball with the Thunder, Paul fouled Russell Westbrook on the elbow as he attempted a three-point shot with 6.4 ticks left. Westbrook sunk all three for the 105-104 lead.
Chris Paul sat in Sunday’s post-game news conference, looking forlorn. His team had just lost Game 4 of their Western Conference playoff series to the Golden State Warriors 118-97 at Oracle Arena in Oakland. The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 Tuesday at Staples center.
The game was played in front of a wild Warriors home sellout crowd of 19,596. The Clippers always sell out with about the same amount of fans. But one has to wonder what the crowd is going to be like Tuesday with this whole fiasco involving team owner Donald Sterling and his alleged racist remarks about African-Americans that has cast a very negative pall over the organization.
Paul was asked about it.
“I would by lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about what it is going to be like because our fans have been amazing all season long and, obviously, I hope that it will be the same,” Paul said. “You just never know. They’ve been amazing, and we wouldn’t be where we are without them. But it’s tough.”
Point guard Chris Paul and sixth-man Jamal Crawford are hurting a little, but they will play Thursday night when the Clippers play at Golden State in Game 3 of their best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series, which is tied 1-1.
Coach Doc Rivers discussed Paul and his sore right hamstring and Crawford and his strained left calf at Thursday’s shootaround.
“I think he’s OK,” Rivers said of Paul, who hurt the hamstring in Game 1, “but I’m just going to watch him. His is pretty obvious. You can tell right away if he’s struggling moving, so that’s not a hard one to read. I think Jamal is the more difficult one. Chris, the only good thing about that injury is, you know when it’s bothering him.”
Paul did very little at practice the previous two days.
“I didn’t do too much, but I’ll be ready,” Paul said.
Crawford, who missed significant time down the stretch of the regular season because of the calf, was asked if he would be playing were this not playoff time.
“It is,” he said. “That’s the only thing I can think about. It is the playoffs.”
Crawford reportedly tweaked the calf in Game 2.
“No question about it, I’ll be out there,” he said.
Guard Chris Paul on Wednesday was asked if his team can come up with another gem like the one it produced Monday in a 138-98 victory over the Golden State Warriors that evened their best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series.
“We hope so,” said Paul, who is nursing a sore right hamstring. “Everything starts with our defense and we defended pretty well to start that game. It’s one of those things where when you’re playing defense, you try to put pressure on them offensively, too.”
The Clippers, who play Thursday at Golden State in Game 3, certainly did that Monday.
Chris Paul’s right hamstring has become a bit of an issue, but apparently not a big one. He injured it in the first half of Saturday’s loss to Golden State in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series.
Paul played 36 minutes in that one. He played 27 minutes in Monday’s 40-point victory in Game 2, but no starter played more than 30 in that one because they were not needed in the fourth quarter.
Coach Doc Rivers said at Tuesday’s practice he was going to limit Paul over the next two days.
“He needs it because I think he’s doing everything he can with it, to be honest,” said Rivers, whose team will play Thursday at Golden State in Game 3. “Two days of huge rest for him. It’s funny, you go into the series talking about J.J. (Redick) and Jamal (Crawford), and we left the game last night thinking we need two days for CP, and so these days will be good for him. He won’t do much. He may do a little tomorrow, but nothing today. We’re not doing anything today anyway.”
The Clippers have some concerns, and they go beyond entering Game 2 Monday night trailing 1-0 in their first-round series to the Golden State Warriors.
Clippers guard Chris Paul expressed his right hamstring that he injured in the Clippers’ Game 1 loss on Saturday as “okay” after receiving treatment. But how much concern does coach Doc Rivers have?
“I don’t know,” Rivers said trailing off before being asked why. “I don’t know. I don’t talk about that.”