The name Chris Paul is floating around somewhere in the NBA stratosphere for the most valuable player award.
It's unlikely Paul will win the MVP hardware, but the Clippers All-Star point guard has a supporter in Lakers Coach Byron Scott.
Admittedly, Scott said, he wasn't totally impartial because he coached Paul for four-plus seasons in New Orleans.
"So I'm a little biased because I still think he's the best point guard in the league," Scott said before his Lakers were defeated by Paul and the Clippers, 106-78, Sunday night at Staples Center. "I think definitely the way he's played this season, with some of the injuries that they've had, he definitely should be in the conversation."
Golden State's Stephen Curry, Houston's James Harden, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook and Cleveland's LeBron James are considered the leaders for the league MVP award.
But Paul, in his 10th season, is having yet another strong season and has made a compelling case to have his name at least mentioned as an MVP candidate.
Before Sunday's designated Clippers road game against the Lakers, Paul was the only player in the league averaging at least 19 points (19.3), 10.0 assists (NBA-leading 10.2), 4.5 rebounds (4.6) and 1.5 steals (1.91) this season.
"I just think CP is taken for granted," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. "He should take that as a compliment, really. He's really good and he's very consistent at being really good. I think we just kind of take it for granted. I've seen it done in a lot of places. But the MVP thing, I think people have already decided between two or three guys. I don't think anybody else is going to enter into that."
Paul scored just seven points but had 15 assists against the Lakers in another duel against an up and coming point guard, rookie Jordan Clarkson.
Blake Griffin had 18 points, Matt Barnes 14 and DeAndre Jordan 16 points and 11 rebounds for a Clippers team that has won nine of its last 10 games.
But for Scott, it was about Paul and the player he once had in New Orleans.
"The biggest difference with CP in New Orleans is he was a 'baby-faced assassin. He would flip," Scott said. "He went from being that nice kid to this kind of crazed basketball player.… CP is just totally all about winning when he's on the court."
Clippers keep moving
In defeating the Lakers for the sixth consecutive time, their longest winning streak against them, the Clippers keep making noise in the uber-tough Western Conference.
The Clippers are seeded fifth in the West, but would have the home-court advantage over fourth-seeded Portland in a playoff meeting because of a better overall record.
But the victory over the Lakers left the Clippers just half a game behind Memphis for the third seed. The Clippers and Grizzlies will play Saturday at Staples Center in a game that could have playoff seeding implications.
"I would love to have home court in the first round," Rivers said. "I think it's very important if you can get it. But if you can't, you can't. Let me put it this way: If you ask me health or home court, I'm taking health. Every time."
The Clippers are hoping that Jamal Crawford, who missed his 17th consecutive game with a bruised right calf, will be able to play Tuesday night against the Lakers.