Dec 20, 2011, 8:08 AM EDT
We have to start with this disclaimer — it was a preseason game. Which means about as much as an autographed Derek Jeter baseball. Actually, less.
That said, Chris Paul had 17 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and five steals and was a +24 against the Lakers in his first game as a Clipper. He was everything advertised and then some — silky smooth and smart.
The Lakers had big men like Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol hedge out hard on him on the pick-and-roll, yet Paul seemed unfazed and just picked apart the Lakers defense. The Lakers turned the ball over 21 times so the Clippers had plenty of transition opportunities, and you knew Paul and his running mates would be good there.
The Clippers were putting on the show, they were fun to watch. The Lakers looked like a team with 10 days of practice with a new coach.
It should be noted that the Lakers interior defense was solid but they were terrible on the perimeter (Mike Brown even called out Kobe Bryant after the game). Paul and the Clipper guards exploited this mercilessly (13 of 28 from three). Chauncey Billups had a game high 23 points and looked comfortable as the two guard. (The Lakers played defense with the intensity of the team that was swept out of the playoffs by Dallas.)
Again, one meaningless preseason game — even Brian Cook looked good for the Clips, you know that is not going to last — but this Chris Paul thing could work out very, very well in Los Angeles.
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