Chris Paul was the fourth pick of the 2005 NBA Draft and since then has displayed great talent, earning himself the nickname, “The Point God”. The 36-year-old is currently in his 17th season in the league, playing for the Phoenix Suns.
Chris Paul has been part of five franchises, with his longest stints with the New Orleans Hornets and the Los Angeles Clippers.
In the current season, Paul has played in all 32 games, averaging 14.6 points, a league-leading 9.9 assists and four rebounds. His defensive contributions included 1.9 steals per game.
Over the years, despite his age, Chris Paul has become a player who can elevate any franchise into performing better. We saw a glimpse of that with the Oklahoma City Thunder and recently with the Phoenix Suns, who lost the 2021 NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks. Chris Paul currently ranks third all-time in assists with 10,591 career assists. He has elite playmaking ability, but failed to go deep into the playoffs until last season. In those playoff games, he has been efficient in getting his team involved.
On that note, let's take a look at the three Playoffs games in which Chris Paul had his highest assist totals.
#3 New Orleans Hornets vs. Dallas Mavericks – 15 assists (2008 Playoffs)
Chris Paul finished the 2007-08 season leading the league in assists, and he recorded 11.6 assists per game and a total of 925 assists that season. The New Orleans Hornets secured the second seed in the Western Conference with a 56-26 record and were prepared to face the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. On April 29th, 2021, Chris Paul went into Game 5 to seal the series with a decisive win.
Chris Paul recorded 11 assists within the first half and went on a scoring run in the second half. He finished the game with a triple-double of 24 points, 11 rebounds and 15 assists.
Paul’s strong performance on both ends of the floor helped the Hornets win the series 4-1. The Dallas Mavericks had seven players scoring in double-digits, but were edged out by a 5-point margin, losing 99-94.
#2 Los Angeles Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – 16 assists (2014 Playoffs)
When Chris Paul was part of the LA Clippers, the franchise was often referred to as “Lob City”. This was because of their bigs, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, receiving a lot of alley-oops from the Point God, Chris Paul. On May 9th, 2014, the LA Clippers took on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Semifinals. Chris Paul with 16 assists accounted for 55.6% of the team’s assists. In 42 mins, he recorded a double-double with 21 points and 16 assists.
Chris Paul’s efforts did not result in a win as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s trio of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka accounted for 79 of the team’s 118 points. The Clippers lost Game 3 at home, 118-112 and were subsequently defeated by the Thunder in six games.
#1 New Orleans Hornets vs. Dallas Mavericks – 17 assists (2008 Playoffs)
On April 22nd, 2008, the Hornets took on the Mavericks in Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs. The Hornets wasted no time, scoring efficiently right from the first quarter.
Chris Paul dished out eight assists in the first 12 minutes of the game, playing the entire first quarter. The Hornets led at the half by 16 points and Chris Paul already had a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists.
Dirk Nowitzki shot an efficient 63.6%, scoring 27 points, but his partner Jason Kidd had a poor shooting night. Chris Paul’s teammates on the other hand, were efficient owing to Paul finding them for open shots. Chris Paul logged 32 points, 17 assists, five rebounds and three steals, giving the Hornets a comfortable 127-103 win against the Mavericks and a 2-0 series lead.