Where was Chris Paul last night against the Spurs? No, I’m not referring to 3 for 13 shooting and the somewhat quiet 10 assists.
I’m talking about his personality.
Where was that fiery little guy who mixed it up with everyone in a Grizzlies uniform just last week? Last night I saw a disturbingly docile CP3, lacking the intensity and competitive fire that we’ve seen all season and most of his career.
Prior to the series, many were surprised to find out that he and Tony Parker are actually really good friends. Judging from Game 1, this relationship seems to be pacifying the usually-annoying Clippers point guard. It’s taking away his biggest strength: his will. I mean, that guy probably even approaches beer pong with a win at all costs mentality.
Paul needs to take a page out of Magic Johnson‘s career. In the late 80′s, Earvin faced his best friend Isiah Thomas in the NBA Finals. The result was a championship for each (1988 & 1989, respectively) but also a friendship that would never be the same.
In 1988, ‘Zeke’ was hobbling around on half an ankle prior to Game 7 in Los Angeles. His boy, Earvin, refused to offer him the Laker training facility to recuperate. Magic wanted to win so badly that he couldn’t force himself to help out his lifelong friend.
Thomas still hasn’t forgiven his old buddy and it’s been almost 25 years.
Am I suggesting that CP3 sneak into Tony’s hotel room in LA and taser him? no…at least, not until maybe Game 6. But I do hope he can find a way to hate that little French guy across from him in the lineup.
It’s not just about X’s & O’s in the playoffs, it’s about the matchups…this one happens to be one of MVP candidates. Paul needs to win this head-to-head if the Clippers have any chance of winning this series.
Wake up Chris…Vinny and the boys need you.