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Chris Paul dominates All-Star playmaking

Along the way to 16 assists, Suns guard Chris Paul set the record for most all-time All-Star assists

NBA: All Star Game-Team Lebron vs Team Durant Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Team LeBron waxed the heavily-compromised/injured Team Durant, winning all four quarters including hitting the target score of 170 well ahead of the other team.

LeBron’s team had Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Chris Paul dominate the flow at the outcome, allowing guys like Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Rudy Gobert to play small roles just soaking in the brilliance of those three guards. Well, and that one guy named Giannis Antetokumnpo who took home the MVP by finishing all those dishes from the outside and in transition.

Chris Paul’s record in All-Star games is now 8-2 (he missed the 2010 game due to injury).

Curry and Lillard were the big time jump shooters (16-32 on threes combined), while Paul did all the playmaking. He had 16 assists in this one, seemingly all on lob dunks. His total all-time assists in All-Star games is now 128, surpassing Magic Johnson’s 127 for the All-Time lead in All-Star assists for a career.

Paul was a +26 in this game, as he totaled 16 assists along with 8 rebounds and 6 points of his own. Not only did Paul set up teammates with lobs, he and Curry and Lillard — none of them over 6’2” — wanted their own lob dunks so they took turns in the second quarter.

“We talked about, we said all three of us wanted to get a dunk in the course of the game,” Paul said afterward. “So we just went ahead and did it back to back to back.”

He talked about the players having their usual fun, but that he was all-business when it came to winning the game.

“Shout out to my brother the late Kobe Bryant,” he said. “I only know one way to play. And that’s to win.”

The game raised over $3 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

“It’s something that’s memorable, something none of us will ever forget,” Paul said of basing the whole game around support of black education. “All of us players we talked about it during the initial shutdown, talking about it during the Bubble... and to see all this come together for this cause” — points to his jacket with the HBCU school names on it representing some 250,000 current students — “I was happy to be a part of that.”

That’s a very very positive outcome from a game that hopefully won’t leave a bad taste in peoples’ mouths if there is a COVID outbreak as a result. Players and staffers were careful, but all it takes is one.

Chris Paul, President of the Players’ Association (NBPA), appreciated everyone’s support.

“Big shoutout to everybody that made his happen,” Paul said. “To the players for coming down, participating and playing. Short break, quick turnaround. I’m about to fly to LA to see my family.”

The Suns next play in four days to kick off the remainder of their 72-game schedule before the playoffs start. Earlier in the day, CP mentioned that the young Suns will see how much tougher it is to win in the second half, once all the teams start jockeying for playoff position. As many as 27 of the 30 teams can honestly say they can at least make the play-in tourney for the 7-10 seeds in each conference.

Paul did enjoy this moment, this fast and furious All-Star weekend. He said his son came up to him at halftime and told him he needed four more assists to break the all-time record.

“To have him, my dad, brother and nephew here makes it that much more special,” he said of becoming the all-time All-Star assists leader. “My dad is the man who introduced me to the game. The man who taught me how to be man. The man who taught me about discipline. So, for him to be here to see it... it don’t get no better than that.”

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