32 points, 12-14 from the field, 8-9 from three, 10 assists and a win in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. That is what Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers accomplished Monday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Paul and the Clippers cruised to a 122-105 win, scoring 104 of those points in 34 minutes, while dominated every facet of the game. It was the play of Paul that catapulted the Clippers to their sheer dominance in Game 1. It was vintage Chris Paul, Monday night, he showcased why so many unanimously clamor him as the best point guard in the NBA.
Before Monday night’s showdown with the Thunder, Chris Paul’s health was of main concern heading into the series. With a strained hamstring and nagging thumb injury, many wondered how it would hold up in another grueling, possible seven game series, going up against one of the elite point guards in the league in Russell Westbrook. Those questions and concerns were put to rest, at least for the time being after the Clippers throttling of the Thunder.
Paul was magnificent from the tip, orchestrating the Clippers offense to perfection, showcasing why he is the best at his position. He finished the first quarter with 17 points and three assists, shooting a perfect 5-5 from deep, toying with the Thunder defense. His play continued into the second quarter, and finished the first half with 22 points, going 8-9 from the field and a perfect 6-6 from deep, to go along with six assists. And a commanding 69-52 lead.
In the third quarter, Chris Paul all but dismantled a Thunder comeback by dropping 10 more points and connecting on two more three’s, ending 8-9 overall from downtown. All we needed as fans was a simple “MJ Shrug”. Paul added in four more assists rounding out his total at 10. Using every pick-and-roll to his advantage, CP3 plucked apart the Thunder defense. At one point, Paul dribbled into the lane, and had wide open layup, only to pass the ball back out for Clipper three-pointer. By the end of the third quarter the game was in hand, and Paul’s night was over. 32 points, 10 assists, in 28 minutes.
The Game 1 victory started at the helm of Chris Paul and was never in doubt after the first quarter. Paul was the maestro at both ends of the floor and was simply a, Point Gawd.