Paul, Crawford Reach Offensive Milestones

Rowan Kavner

CHARLOTTE – Chris Paul moved further into the record books in his hometown.

The North Carolina native passed Jerry West for No. 25 all-time in NBA assists in Monday’s win in Charlotte, while Jamal Crawford moved into the top 10 all-time in 3-pointers made.

“I didn’t know until after the game, but it’s cool, especially to do it here at home,” Paul said. “Jerry West was a scorer, but it’s cool.”

Head coach Doc Rivers said any time a player can put his name next to West, it means he’s in good company. Paul came into the game 13 assists away from passing West, and he finished with 15 assists and 22 points, giving him 6,241 assists for his career.

The Winston-Salem native, who had his jersey retired by Wake Forest, tends to put on a show in Charlotte, where he’s 6-2 in his career. Paul already passed John Havlicek, Clyde Drexler and Scottie Pippin on that list this year, and his assist-filled night Monday moved him further along the list.

“I thought Chris was the maestro tonight,” Crawford said. “It was perfect the way he balanced scoring and assisting everybody and calling sets. It was great.”

Crawford needed two 3-pointers to move past Dale Ellis’ mark of 1,719 3-pointers made. Crawford finished 5-of-8 from behind the arc, moving into the top 10 quickly by going 2-of-2 from deep in the first quarter. Both players had reached their respective milestones by the third quarter.

Clippers shooting coach Bob Thate let Crawford know he was close, and Crawford found out at halftime about his accomplishment, as he passed a player he watched a lot growing up.

“I was at a game when (Ellis) hit eight or nine threes in Seattle,” Crawford said. “To me, I’m not in that level as far as shooting, so to hear the names is unbelievable. Steve Nash, I passed last year—like, I’m not a shooter like Steve Nash. To pass him is pretty cool.”

Crawford said he’ll have to think about it to see where this ranks among his career accomplishments. He said it’s one of those things where it may hit him more when his career’s over. Crawford scored 21 points in the win, and he’s now 37 3-pointers away from Peja Stojakovic’s ninth-place mark.

“My gosh, it’s amazing just watching him,” Rivers said of Crawford. “Today down the stretch, he really was the separator. He makes crazy shots. He’s just a great scorer. That’s what Jamal is. It would be very frustrating guarding a guy like that.”