Wednesday, 15 February 2012
ESCAPE TO L.A.
C.P's third time lucky.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
That was how Chris Paul's tweet following David Stern nixing his trade to the Los Angeles Lakers this rushed offseason read, and it says it all about the young point's influence on the game to begin this lockout-shortened 2011/2012 campaign.
After CP didn't form the league's second biggest three in Lakerland with the Voltron of Kobe Bryant and what could have been Dwight Howard, he ended up leaving the cotton-wool protected Hornets nest anyway, heading to Los Angeles and the STAPLES Centre like intended, but for a hardwood floor that reads "Clippers."
So now Chris Paul is leading the Los Angeles Clippers with sophomore sensation and dunking dynamo Blake Griffin. The league's top point guard and next biggest star now form arguably the league's best inside and out, one-two punch in the NBA. Especially since Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony didn't get out of the Madison Square Garden gates as quickly and effectively as they like.
Speaking of New York, Chris Paul's former running mate in New Orleans Tyson Chandler turned into a star thanks to CP3's lobs. Now—as Eric Gordon has less to throw to in Louisiana—expect Blake to highlight his own weekly 'Top Ten Plays' syndicate with Chris Paul alleying the oop.
The Clippers look as white-hot as their jerseys now, with Kenyon Martin adding his passion to a punishing frontline featuring DeAndre Jordan and Griffin. And although they have lost Chauncey Billups' veteran stability fr the season due to an achilles injury, guys like Mo Williams and Randy Foye make this team more stacked than Pringles. At the second spot out west they really are popping with no signs of stopping.
Playoffs guaranteed...what more will we see?
Chris Paul deserves this, the former Hornet really was a New Orleans saint, quarterbacking his NBA franchise and lifting a downtrodden city with all his spirit. Beyond his charity and his play, Paul gave New Orleans everything they have.
There will always be love.
The Clippers used to be a team that looked up to the STAPLES rafters of retired jerseys and Championship banners with jealousy. Well now it's the Lakers that are looking green with envy, and it's not at the Celtics, it's at their neighbours.
It's bad enough that some Laker fans and players wish Griffin was their creation or just the subject of myth, well now they are watching what they could have had if it wasn't for a vetoed trade.
Not only did they lose the chance to have their greatest point guard since Magic (and arguably one of the best in the whole league since) they also lost a disgruntled Lamar Odom for nothing. Trading their most versatile player to the Dallas Mavericks, the team that swept the former Champions last year en route to their own victorious season.
The Lakers are literally gutted and having issues of form. The Clippers, on the other hand, are finally shaking the notion that they'll always be a bad team. This really is a changing of the guard.
A change in the City of Angels that makes for a heaven sent rivalry of epic Hollywood proportions. You couldn't script it better. Some may say David Stern sure can direct, others know that Los Angeles is the city where dreams are made and broken. Unfortunately for the purple and gold side, it seems to be Chris Paul and his Los Angeles Clippers' time.
It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.