FRIDAY FIVE: TOP PASSES FROM CHRIS PAUL SINCE COMEBACK
With Chris Paul on the verge of his 6,000th career assist and the Clippers on one of their best streaks in team history, winning 13 of their last 16 games, it seemed like no better time to put together some of Paul’s best assists of the season. Here are Paul’s best five assists since returning to the lineup on Feb. 9 after missing 18 games with a shoulder separation:
5. Feb. 9, 2014 vs. Philadelphia: In his welcome back game, Paul put together two of his better alley-oop highlights in consecutive possessions. The best of the two was after a Michael Carter-Williams turnover and Paul, who was behind the pack, catches a long outlet pass from Jamal Crawford, sees Blake Griffin coming behind him and throws it off the backboard to him.
4. Feb. 21, 2014 at Memphis:It seems as though Paul has connected on more long alley-oops this season than in his previous two years with the Clippers, despite missing 19 games with a hamstring strain and the shoulder injury. In Memphis, the game before the Clippers began their 11-game winning streak, Paul responded to a Memphis basket with a lob to Griffin over Courtney Lee’s outstretched arm from about 55 feet away.
3. Mar. 16, 2014 vs. Cleveland: Another long pass, but this time Paul somehow finds DeAndre Jordan underneath the basket from the opposite free throw line. Jordan catches it ahead of Dion Waiters and throws down one of his league-leading 197 dunks.
2. Mar. 1, 2014 vs. New Orleans: After a steal from Brian Roberts, Paul pushes the ball ahead and instead kicking it to Willie Green on the right wing, he leaps in the air waiting for Matt Barnes to fill the lane. Paul drops a perfect pass to a streaking Barnes who finishes off the 3-on-2 break.
1. Feb. 24, 2014 at New Orleans: The deadliest pick-and-roll combo in the league, Paul and Griffin, operate on the left side of the floor in the Clippers’ second win of their 11-game streak. Griffin sets the screen flashes down the center of the lane and Paul avoids the Pelicans’ trap and throw a brilliant bounce pass to Griffin around the body of Roberts.