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Clippers' Chris Paul feels the love from fans

New point guard gets a big reaction before intrasquad scrimmage.

December 18, 2011|By Broderick Turner
  • Clippers point guard Chris Paul addresses the crowd prior to the team's scrimmage on Sunday.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul addresses the crowd prior to the team's… (Gus Ruelas / Associated…)

The chants of "CP3" rang out as soon as Chris Paul took the microphone before the start of the Clippers' intrasquad scrimmage Sunday at USC's Galen Center.

Paul was just acquired from the New Orleans Hornets in a blockbuster trade and already he was feeling the love from the fans.

"It was humbling and kind of embarrassing there for a second," Paul said. "But it's all in fun. I'm just excited about what we have here and I'm extremely grateful for the welcome that the fans have given me."

There were cheers of "Chaun-cey, Chaun-cey" as soon as Chauncey Billups was introduced.

He joined the team Monday when the Clippers won a waiver auction after the New York Knicks used the league's new amnesty provision to release Billups.

"It's just good to always feel welcome, to feel wanted," Billups said. "Obviously, there's a new feeling around here in Clipperland. We're just not trying to make the playoffs. We're trying to advance and do the whole thing. Expectations are different and as Chris and I always will tell you, that's the only reason why you play."

The last player introduced was Blake Griffin, who received a rousing ovation from the announced crowd of 6,607.

Griffin spoke about Paul and Billups.

"Those two are going to make it easy on me as well," Griffin said. "Not only on the court, but off the court, teaching me the little things, just things they have learned over the past 800 years — however long they have played."

Griffin (nine points, three rebounds) laughed at his joke as did Billups, the oldest player on the team at 35, and Paul, who's only 26.

Starters win

The blue team, which started Paul, Billups, Griffin, newcomer Caron Butler and DeAndre Jordan, defeated the white team, 35-32, in a one-minute overtime after two 10-minute halves.

The fans had chanted, "We want overtime," and they got their wish.

Randy Foye, on the white team, made a three-point shot for a 32-32 tie, sending the game into overtime.

Paul (seven points, five assists) drove for a layup and Marcus Hubbard made one of two free throws for a 35-32 lead.

When Brian Cook missed a three-point shot, the game was over.

Williams' effort noticed

Mo Williams is no longer a starter at point guard because of Paul's arrival, but that didn't stop him from hustling.

Williams dived onto the scorer's table trying to save the ball from going out bounds.

"That's what we're all about too," Paul said. "I think Mo sets a high standard with that."

Williams missed all four of his shots and didn't score, but he had six rebounds and four assists.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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