Paul Adds Swag and Game to Clippers

Guard Chris Paul has given the Los Angeles Clippers a new outlook and new attitude. Photo: Sterling Cross/Courtesy of the Inland Valley News.

Los Angeles-There is something to be said about swag that makes others stand up and take notice. Swag is not something you earn. You either have it or you don’t. Swag is a hipper, trendy version of supreme confidence. Whatever it is, Chris Paul has it. Blake Griffin carries it around on his broad shoulders. Even though he’s done playing for the season, guard Chauncey Billups embodies it. Now the entire Los Angeles Clippers roster plays with it.

Thanks to some heady and shrewd player transactions the last couple of years, the Clippers no longer play as if they hope to be accepted as a legitimate NBA team. Now when they take the court, the Clippers play and act like they own it. The hardened Memphis Grizzlies got a taste of it.

The San Antonio Spurs, the No.1 seed in the NBA Western Conference, are about to experience it in their second round playoff playoff match with the Clippers. But can swag be enough to help the Clippers defeat the Spurs? It might be.

After just coming up short of winning the Western Conference Pacific Division this season, the Clippers know they belong with the top tier group of teams. Paul is a major reason why. When the Clippers went after and obtained the All-Star point from the New Orleans Hornets before this season got underway, expectation of the team’s immediate and long term success went from just being able to compete with the elite to potential NBA title contender.

Before the heralded arrival of Griffin two seasons ago, Clipper Nation had to contend with being second fiddle to that other team that share the Staples Center with them as their home arena.

Not anymore. The addition of the two superstars has given the Clippers and their fans an attitude adjustment this season. Instead of settling and sitting back and watching the same old results of the past, Clippers fans are demanding more.

Paul, Griffin and the rest of the Clippers are giving them more. Instead of letting things come to them, the Clippers are now taking them by force. Just ask the Grizzlies. Unfortunately for Memphis fans, the Clippers ripped their team’s heart out when they came back from 24 points down in the fourth quarter to win the first game of the best-of-seven, first round playoff series.

Swag is Paul coming up with 19 big points and nine rebounds as he and his Clippers teammates took Memphis’ soul as they captured Game 7 on the road, on Memphis home floor to wrap up the seven game series. Swag is Paul coming in and averaging 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds in his first full playoff series with the Clippers.

When discussing the term “game-changer,” Paul, no doubt has to be seriously considered as that. Now that is what you call swag. The Clippers, under the coaching guidance of Vinny Del Negro, has built up enough moxie not to back down from any team.  Having Paul in the mix certainly helps in illustrating that point.

Before the arrival of Paul, the Clippers were fighting to gain respectability. The additions of Paul and Billups automatically gave them that. Widely considered to be the best pure point guard in the NBA, Paul is a whole lot more than a talented passer and gifted scorer. He’s a fighter, a fearless leader not afraid to mix it up with the big bodies that occupy the low post. That’s swag.

Before this season the Clippers had an abysmal record in the playoffs, albeit a short history of the postseason. Up to this season the Clippers had made the playoffs just four times. Three of those trips to the postseason ended in the first round. The only other time the Clippers made it past the first round was in 2006 when the Sam Cassell-led squad defeated Denver to move on to the Western Conference semifinals.

Paul’s swagger attitude has the Clippers thinking about contending for an NBA title. The glee of just making it into the postseason won’t cut it with such a demanding floor general like Paul. Just showing up to collect a paycheck won’t do, either. When you see the Clippers this season even their body language tells a different story about their approach to the season.  There is a streak of rugged toughness in the Clippers’ locker room called the Goon Squad and they bring it every night.

Expect Paul, Griffin and the rest of the Clippers to do the same against the Spurs. Swag wouldn’t have it any other way.









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