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Chris Paul passes (and passes) the test as Clippers subdue Lakers

All-Star point guard has as many assists (15) as Staples Centers opponents in 105-95 victory on Friday night.

November 03, 2012|By Melissa Rohlin

How good of a floor general is Chris Paul?

He finished Friday night's 105-95 win over the Lakers with 15 assists, tying the assist total for the entire Lakers squad.

"I didn't know that until you just told me," Paul said.

But he was painfully aware of another stat.

"I had a dumb turnover tonight when I tried to throw it in the post to Blake [Griffin] and Pau [Gasol] stole it," he said. "I can't stand it."

Meet Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul, the guy who focuses on the one turnover he committed in the victory instead of his excellent passing game.

Paul might not give himself due credit, but his teammates recognize his dominance on the court.

Said center DeAndre Jordan: "He sees a lot of plays before they actually happen."

Said Griffin, the high-flying All-Star power forward: "Nothing he does surprises me anymore."

Against the Lakers, Paul continually penetrated lanes, drawing two defenders, then found the open man through a thicket of hands and legs. On one play late in the third quarter, he crossed over his dribble and then returned it through his legs, shaking Steve Blake and inspiring a video of the play to be uploaded to YouTube minutes later titled "Chris Paul Breaks Steve Blake's Ankles."

He also successfully orchestrated numerous pick-and-roll plays, maneuvering around the Laker big men, who are nearly a foot taller than him.

"What they have over me is size," Paul said. "I can barely see the rim when I'm dribbling around. But what I have over them is quickness."

Paul, who finished with 18 points on seven-for-15 shooting, credited the 30 points that he facilitated to his team's depth.

He has a point, considering Jamal Crawford, who comes off of the bench for the Clippers, scored 21 points while the Lakers' bench had a combined 16.

"When it comes to those assists, I told the guys on the team I have the easy part," Paul said. "All I have to do is pass it. They the ones that make the shots and stuff like that."

Paul might be humble, but he acknowledged that he's loving his job.

"This might be one of the funnest years that I've had since I've been in the league," he said.

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