Chris Paul takes MVP lead, sends Miami home with a loss

11.06.10 8 years ago 74 Comments

New Orleans is officially legit, and Chris Paul is officially the clubhouse leader in the first leg of the MVP race. With his boy Lil’ Wayne still digesting prison food but sitting courtside for Hornets/Heat, CP3 dominated from start to finish (13 pts, 19 asts, 5 stls) while sending his other boys D-Wade, LeBron and Bosh home with their second loss … The win ran N.O.’s record to 5-0 against maybe the toughest schedule in the League so far — Bucks, Nuggets, Spurs, Rockets, Heat — and Paul reminded everyone that he’s still the best PG in the world on a night when Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose were supposed to be the main event. (More on that later.) … It was CP3’s show, but the biggest stretch of the game was at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Paul was on the bench. With the Hornets ahead by eight and resting their stars for crunch time, Monty Williams went with a lineup of Jerryd Bayless, Willie Green, Trevor Ariza, Jason Smith and DJ Mbenga. (You see why Paul is the MVP leader?) You expected the Heat to make their big run right there and steal the momentum, but the role players — and later Emeka Okafor, who was a BEAST with 26 points (12-13 FG) and 13 boards — held it down and maintained the lead until CP3 and David West returned … Miami rallied and took the lead on a pair of LeBron (20 pts, 10 asts) free throws with one minute remaining, but Marco Belinelli put the Hornets back on top with his own FT’s a few seconds later, then Paul sucked in the defense and dimed Ariza for a triple with 14 seconds left that gave them some breathing room … We know CP3 needs a more creative nickname, but the Hornets’ play-by-play guy was trying too hard. “Man of Steal” is kind of OK, but “Dr. Paul, The Surgeon” is kind of terrible … Good job by whoever wrote Mike Brown‘s script when he was on NBA TV breaking down the Hornets’ offense like a poor man’s Czar. Brown also talked about some guy on the Hornets named “Marco Bela-nini.” … How crazy was the hype for the Rondo vs. D-Rose matchup in Boston? Not that those two haven’t been killing it this season, but you would have thought it was Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao or something. Paul Pierce, KG, Ray and Joakim Noah were barely mentioned in the pre-game show. And so for all the build-up, Rose’s 18 points and 9 dimes and Rondo’s 10 points and 11 dimes were kind of a letdown … Say what you want about KG, but he has been making plays that winners make. During overtime he drew a crucial charge on D-Rose, and Garnett (16 pts, 10 rebs, 3 stls) poked the ball away from Noah for a clutch steal when Boston was protecting a three-point lead in the final seconds … Some of the Dime crew was at Knicks/Wizards for John Wall‘s MSG debut, which doubled as Gilbert Arenas‘ first game of the season and the Knicks’ first home game since the asbestos thing. (At least they said everything is OK. We’ll let you know in 10 years.) … Arenas dropped 18 off the bench and really looked like he’d never been gone, while Wall had 13 points, 7 dimes and 9 turnovers in a loss which got embarrassing by the end when the Wizards committed three backcourt violations in four possessions … Wilson Chandler‘s baseline cuff dunk in JaVale McGee‘s grill wasn’t as sick as Dr. J‘s famous “Rock the Cradle” jam on Michael Cooper, but the way the MSG crowd reacted you would have sworn it was an exact replay … Other big stat lines from Friday: Jason Richardson had 38 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals in Phoenix’s double-overtime win over Memphis that J-Rich sent to OT1 by dropping in a backwards alley-oop off an inbounds pass at the regulation buzzer; Pau Gasol hung 30 points on the Raptors in a Lakers win; Carmelo Anthony scored 30 to lead Denver past the Clippers; Josh Smith went for 20 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 blocks as Atlanta beat Minnesota; Dwight Howard posted 30 points and 16 boards in Orlando’s win over New Jersey; Monta Ellis had 23 points and 7 steals, and Andris Biedrins pulled down 20 rebounds as Golden State beat Utah; Anderson Varejao‘s 23 points (10-10 FG) and 12 rebounds led Cleveland past Philly; John Salmons scored 22 as Milwaukee edged Indiana; and Ben Gordon dropped 20 points to lead Detroit past Charlotte in a game where Rodney Stuckey got benched and T-Mac started at point guard … Can Darren Collison get one of those “Fast Don’t Lie” ads? During one seqeuence in the fourth quarter of Pacers/Bucks where Collison made two steals and turned them into positive results at the other end, the camera lost track of him after he’d picked the ball off and was out of the screen within a three steps … We’re out like the Czar of the Sticky-Note …

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