For the first time in Clippers’ history, they had two players represented at the All Star Game, and two starters at that. Paul and Griffin fared well together as a starting duo part of a Los Angeles starting quarto, featuring Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum as well.
Chris Paul did what he does best, and what makes the All Star Game most exciting, dishing the ball for alley-oops and other high-flying dunks. Chris Paul finished with a game-high 12 assists. In his four All-Star games, Paul has averaged 11.8 assists; Magic Johnson holds the record for assists in an All-Star Game at 22, which he set in 1984. Chris Paul also helped manage the game into a victory near the nail-biting conclusion.
Blake Griffin had a solid showing as well. He recorded 22 points and made the crowd roar with his rim-rattling jams. He was efficient, going 9 of 12 from the field and adding 8 rebounds and the game-clinching steal. Blake’s dunks will make him an All Star favorite for years to come.
It was Kevin Durant, however, who shined the brightest on the Western squad and won the All Star Game MVP. Kobe Bryant also climbed to first place on the all-time All-Star scoring list with 271 points, surpassing Michael Jordan’s 262. Kobe’s record might be a thing of the past by the time Durant hangs up his sneakers for good. Not to mention LeBron James who is quickly climbing up the scoring list as well. LeBron is averaging more points (25.9) per All Star Game than any player in NBA histoty, and if Durant and James both keep up their pace, then they could eventually be number 1 and 2 on that list.
The Clippers have to be happy with their showing, and hope to take some of that momentum into the second half of the season. The loss of Chauncey Billups hurts to be sure, but the Clippers have more than enough capable point guards in Eric Bledsoe and Mo Williams to make up for his loss. The real question of the Clippers’ title hopes rests on Vinny del Negro. Not all fans or media are convinced he has what it takes to gameplan against the likes of Popovich, Carlisle, Brooks, and D’Antoni. This writer is pretty convinced he’s not a great coach, but Chris Paul might just be a good enough coach on the floor to make anything happen. Even with Vinny del Negro.