PAUL WINS 2ND PLAYER OF WEEK WITH CLIPPERS
PLAYA VISTA - The news arrived shortly before the Clippers opened practice on Monday morning: Chris Paul Western Conference Player of the Week.
It is the second time Paul, who is a perennial MVP candidate, has won the award in his 25 eligible weeks with the Clippers. This time he was selected for his four games during the week of Dec. 17-23, which included averages of 16.3 points, a conference-leading 11.3 assists and 3.50 steals.
Paul put up three double-doubles and had two games with five steals. He had 24 points, 13 assists, five steals and five rebounds against the Kings on Friday and in Sunday’s 103-77 win over the Suns he tallied 17 points, 13 assists and five steals, becoming the first player since John Stockton more than two decades ago to post at least 17 points, 13 assists and five steals in back-to-back games.
According to Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro, the most important number in Paul’s week, which also included his 5,000th career assist, is the team’s 4-0 record.
“Chris is all about winning and he deserves [the award],” Del Negro said. “Blake [Griffin] had it. And when you win good things happen, all the accolades come. Chris is about team-first and winning and that’s why he’s one of the top players in the league.”
Paul’s award comes two weeks after Griffin was named conference player of the week. Griffin’s accolade, not surprisingly, also came during an undefeated seven days for the Clippers, who are riding a franchise-record 13-game winning streak.
Griffin and Paul are the first Clippers teammates to win the award in the same season since Quentin Richardson and Elton Brand did so in 2003-04.
When asked about the award, the tenth of his career, Paul deferred to his teammates, “I think consistency [has been the key during the winning streak]. It’s tough to win two or three games in a row, so for us to win 13 I think it just means how well we’re playing as a team.”
PAUL’S FOUR-GAME RUN (Dec. 17-23)
FG 3P FT REB AST STL TO PTS
12/23 @ PHX, W 103-77 7-12 2-4 1-1 1 13 5 1 17
12/21 vs SAC, W 97-85 7-13 5-7 5-6 5 13 5 4 24
12/19 vs NOH, W 93-77 4-9 0-2 2-2 5 12 0 2 10
12/17 @ DET, W 88-76 6-12 0-2 2-2 4 7 3 1 14