FRIDAY FIVE: BEST CHRIS PAUL STEALS OF 2013-14
Eric Patten, Clippers.com
Chris Paul was named to the All-Defensive team this week, and in honor of him being named to the first team for the fourth time in his career he scored 154 steals in the regular season to find five of the best. Each of Paul’s thefts takes into account the time of the game, the difficulty in the play and in some cases the result.
Here are Paul’s five best steals from the 2013-14 regular season:
5. Mar. 1, 2014 vs. New Orleans Pelicans. Paul squares up on point guard Brian Roberts and locks his eyes on the ball. Roberts attempts a bounce pass to his right a few seconds into the possession and Paul, who has some of the quickest hands in the league, pounces on it and leads the break the other direction. The play ended in a Matt Barnes dunk, with Paul hanging in the air to find him, and capped an 11-0 run by the Clippers in the second quarter of their blowout win.
4. Mar. 14, 2014 at Utah Jazz. Paul is tracking the much taller Gordon Hayward while Darren Collison was guarding Jazz point guard Trey Burke. Paul avoids a screen by Enes Kanter and darts in front of Burke’s pass intended for Hayward, tips the ball away and somehow saves it along the sideline near midcourt, throwing the ball back to Barnes around his body.
3. Feb. 12, 2014 vs. Portland Trail Blazers. With the Clippers ahead by one late in their final game before the All-Star Break, Paul showed why the slightest miscue can turn into points for the Clippers. Damian Lillard throws an entry pass to LaMarcus Aldridge and as Aldridge attempts to throw a return pass Lillard juggles the ball for a second. By the time he recovers, Paul is on the ground digging the ball out and throwing it ahead to DeAndre Jordan who finishes the play off a tip lob from Barnes that put the Clippers up by three.
2. Nov. 11, 2013 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves. “That’s the best steal I’ve ever seen,” Ralph Lawler screamed as Paul ripped the ball away from Corey Brewer with the game in the balance. Watch and find out why it was.
1. Dec. 22, 2013 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves. The ultimate “never out of a game play” for the Clippers came in their second thrilling home win of the season against Minnesota. They came back from a four-point deficit in the final seconds of the fourth quarter to win in overtime. But they never get there without Paul’s theft in the backcourt of Kevin Martin and Jamal Crawford’s ensuing dunk to tie the game with 8.8 seconds left.