It does not get any easier for Clippers point guard Chris Paul on the defensive end.
Paul will have his hands full trying to defend Oklahoma City’s super-aggressive point guard Russell Westbrook when the Clippers meet the Thunder in Game 1 on Monday night in the Western Conference second-round playoff series.
Paul just got done playing against Golden State point guard Stephen Curry in the first-round series.
He goes from a shooting point guard like Curry to a constantly attacking point guard like Westbrook.
“Obviously they are very different,” Paul said at the Clippers’ shoot-around Monday. “Steph obviously does a lot more running around. Russell is a tough cover in that he can post up.
“Russell has a very short memory. So he’s one of those guys that just stays on attack for 48 minutes. Every play that’s called, he’s obviously looking for his teammates, but he’s just always in attack.”
During four regular-season games against the Thunder, Paul averaged 18.5 points per game, 12 assists and 6.3 rebounds.
He shot 45.5% from the field, 33.3% from three-point range.
Westbrook averaged 18.5 points per game, 6.8 assists and 6.5 rebounds.
He made just 39.7% of his shots, 23.5% (four-for-17) of his three-pointers.
“I definitely get excited about [these matchups],” Paul said. “But I also understand it’s not one-on-one. Luckily for me it’s not. My college coach used to always say it’s a team game played by individuals. So everybody has to do their part.”
Paul also downplayed his sprained left thumb and a right hamstring injury, saying he will play tonight.
“I’m good,” Paul said. “I’m ready to go tonight.”