Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul earned 2013 All-Star Game MVP honors thanks to his brilliant 20-point, 15-assist performance in the Western Conference's 143-38 victory on Sunday night in Houston. With that effort, Paul joined Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas as the only players to have at least 20 points and 15 assists in an All-Star Game.
Afterward, Paul acknowledged what the award meant to him:
''Pretty special. 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 helped get the West going early, setting up his teammates, and especially Blake Griffin, time after time for easy baskets. The point guard had nine of his 15 assists before halftime, and also showed off his impressive ballhandling skills by dribbling through Chris Bosh's legs.
It was not surprising to see Paul excel in a game like this, as the fast pace suits his style of play well:
''In games like this, it's so up-tempo and fast-paced. A guy like me that's a facilitator, I enjoy (it).''
But as noted by his 20 points, Paul was not just a facilitator. When the West needed clutch baskets in the fourth quarter, Paul helped provide them. He scored nine of his 20 points in the final frame, and capped his night off with a deep 3-pointer in the face of East center Joakim Noah, who earlier had elbowed Paul in the face dribbling up the court.
Paul shot 7-of-10 overall and made 4-of-5 from 3-point range. With his 15 assists, he improved his average in All-Star Games to 12.4, which is the best in history.