Chris Paul earns first ASG MVP

Updated: February 18, 2013, 1:00 AM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul was named the MVP of Sunday's NBA All-Star Game, scoring 20 points and handing out 15 assists in the West's 143-138 win over the East.

Paul is the first Los Angeles Clipper to win the award and is the third player to have at least 20 points and 15 assists in the league's annual showcase, joining Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas.

He sank 7-of-10 shots and went 4-for-5 from 3-point range. He sank two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help the West build a double-digit lead.

"Pretty special," Paul said. "It's something I've never done and it's something that I definitely, coming into the game, I wasn't trying to achieve or thinking that it might be possible."

Paul already had the best per-game assists average in All-Star history (12.4). He had nine assists and plenty of fancy dribbling in the first half, and his niftiest moves came right before one of his only mistakes.

When 6-foot-11 Chris Bosh came out to the wing to guard him, Paul slid the ball between Bosh's legs and darted past the Heat forward. It looked good until Paul's pass from under the basket back into the lane was picked off by the East, one of his three turnovers in the game.

Paul didn't have a turnover in the second half, and had nine points in the final quarter to help the West win for the fourth time in five seasons.

"In games like this, it's so up-tempo and fast-paced," Paul said. "A guy like me, that's a facilitator, I enjoy (it)."

[+] EnlargeChris Paul
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesMVP Chris Paul of the Western Conference joined Magic Johnson (1985) and Isiah Thomas (1984) as the only players in All-Star history with at least 20 points and 15 assists in one game.

Paul is averaging 9.6 assists -- second to Boston's Rajon Rondo -- in his second season with the Clippers. More significantly, he's led the Clippers to a 39-17 record and he, Blake Griffin and "Lob City" have helped their franchise steal some of the L.A. spotlight from the floundering Lakers, who currently sit 10th in the Western Conference.

Paul tried to hook up with the high-flying Griffin for one of their trademark alley-oops early in the third quarter. They mis-timed it, though, and Griffin had to come down before going up for a more conventional dunk.

But with so many stars around him, Paul spread it around. He flicked a pass to Dwight Howard for a jam and found Tim Duncan cutting down the lane for another one in the third quarter. Paul also pitched a few assists to Kevin Durant, who finished with 30 points.

"This game is slightly different than a regular-season game," he said. "You have to pick your poison. You tag Blake at the rim for a dunk, you're leaving KD wide open for the 3."

Maybe tired of passing midway through the third quarter, Paul backed up to the corner and swished a 3-pointer for an 88-86 lead for the West.

"Most of the time, I was open," Paul said. "I was wide-open for the first two 3s that I hit. The other ones, the shot clock was running down, so I almost was forced to shoot a couple of times."


Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

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