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Lionel Hollins heaps praise on Chris Paul, but could he defend him?

May 7, 2012, 10:12 PM EDT

Lionel Hollins AP

Chris Paul is the reason the Clippers are up 2-1 on the Memphis Grizzlies going into Game 4. With Tony Allen slowed by a knee injury, Memphis has not been able to disrupt anything he wants to do.

Could Memphis coach Lionel Hollins have slowed him back in the day? Hollins is a former NBA player who made the NBA All-Defensive team in 1978 and his defense helped the 1977 Trail Blazers win a ring.

If he was out there (and 35 years younger) could he disrupt CP3?

“I would be a lot more physical than he’s getting right now,” Hollins said with a smile, but you could sense the competitor behind it. “I don’t know if I’d been able to get away with it, but I’d be trying. But I’m too old to even be talking about that…

“CP is a great player. He’s quick, he’s got a nice body, he strong, he’s a very, very smart player. He reads what you’re trying to do to him and he picks it up quickly. Sometimes he sits with it and waits until an appropriate moment and attacks, other times he attacks right away on it and makes you change up.

“He’s one of the great players in the game today. He maybe doesn’t get as much notoriety as LeBron (James), and Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Rose and some of the guys playing on the East Coast, but I have a lot of respect for Chris.”

Hollins couldn’t stop Paul either. Nobody stops him. But if they don’t make things harder for him fast Hollins and his players will be dusting off their golf clubs really soon.

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