Clippers' Chris Paul joins Blake Griffin on All-Star team, again

Chris Paul is selected as an NBA All-Star for the eighth time

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, still so happy together.

The NBA's Western Conference coaches ensured the Clippers duo would remain united as All-Stars for a fourth consecutive year Thursday when they selected Paul as a reserve for the league's midseason showcase Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

It is the eighth All-Star selection for Paul, who leads the NBA with a 4.52 assist-to-turnover ratio and is the only player in the league averaging at least 17.5 points, 9.7 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.

"I am blessed to be able to represent the Clippers organization in New York with Blake," Paul said in a statement.

Griffin had previously been picked as a starter for the West in fan voting, his fifth All-Star selection and fourth as a starter. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan did not make the team after finishing outside the top three frontcourt players in fan voting and being left out by the coaches.

Joining Paul as All-Star reserves for the West will be Houston's James Harden, Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge, Golden State's Klay Thompson and Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will also pick an injury replacement for the Lakers' Kobe Bryant.

The East reserves will be Chicago's Jimmy Butler, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, Miami's Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and Atlanta's Al Horford, Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague.

Happy homecoming?

Austin Rivers paused for six seconds when asked what it would be like to return to New Orleans. When he finally spoke, the Clippers backup point guard gave the same answer twice.

"I'm excited," he said. "I'm excited."

Rivers never became the player the Pelicans had envisioned after drafting him 10th overall out of Duke in 2012. New Orleans traded Rivers to Boston this month in a move that allowed him to become the first player in NBA history to play for his father after the Celtics subsequently sent him to the Clippers.

"I parted ways in a positive way," Rivers said. "It wasn't like, 'Get me the hell out of here, I hate it here.' I liked all my teammates there, the coaches are cool."

Rivers said he felt as if he was never able to fulfill his potential in his 2 1/2 seasons with the Pelicans, in part because the team was continually rebuilding with young players.

"I still had good games, I was a solid NBA player," he said, "but I felt like I could be better. And that's why here, I feel like I can play free."

Rivers said playing alongside veterans such as Paul, Griffin and Jamal Crawford has allowed him to be more aggressive and not worry about his production. He produced his best game as a Clipper on Wednesday, scoring 12 points on five-for-eight shooting during a victory over the Utah Jazz.

"It's exciting because now I'm to the point where I'm not thinking, I'm just going out and play and shooting my shots," Rivers said. "I told them I haven't been used to playing this free since I was at Duke or in high school and people know what I did there."


When: 5 PST Friday.

Where: Smoothie King Center.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 980, 1330.

Records: Clippers 32-14, Pelicans 24-22.

Record vs. Pelicans: 1-0.

Update: Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick is listed as questionable with back spasms but is expected to try to play after sitting out the previous game against Utah. Pelicans forward Anthony Davis could also play after sustaining a mild groin strain against Denver on Wednesday night.

Twitter: @latbbolch

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