Chris Paul is one of the most competitive players in the NBA. Very few players in this day and age can match Paul’s passion and will to win on a nightly basis.
Unfortunately for Paul, he has failed to make a sustained run in the postseason, never making it past the second round, and suffering some heartbreaking losses in the process. None more painful than the Game 5 loss he suffered to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the playoffs last year.
The Clippers blew a seven point lead with less than a minute remaining and according to Ben Bolch of the LA Times, actually cried in the locker room following the loss:
It was all part of the Clippers’ blowing a seven-point lead in the final 49.2 seconds of Game 5 that sent the Clippers back to Staples Center facing an elimination game that they lost to end their season. Paul was so devastated he cried in the locker room afterward.
This emotion and competitiveness is one of the reasons why the Lakers were willing to give up so much in order to acquire him. Very few people can match the fire of Kobe Bryant, but Paul is one of those players.
Paul will be entering this season with a mindset very similar to Kobe’s. Both will be looking to erase the disappointment of last season, Paul because of the playoff loss and Kobe because of the injuries. Both will also be looking to prove doubters wrong, with people doubting whether Paul can win in the playoffs and whether Kobe can come back at an elite level.
With these two warriors on each side of the L.A. rivalry things could very easily get heated between the Lakers and the Clipper. And fans won’t have to wait long as the teams will meet on the first friday of the regular season, Halloween night.
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