The real bummer about last night's game between the Thunder and Clippers is that it turned into a blowout fairly quickly, and not just because blowouts suck. See, if the Thunder had managed to keep it close, Chris Paul probably would have dropped 60 on those suckers.
Instead, Paul hit 12 of his 14 shots and finished with 32 points and 10 assists in 28 minutes. His first eight three-point attempts found the bottom of the net, and he only bothered to take one more—a fuck-it-why-not pull-up from 24 feet while up 23—before checking out for the entire fourth quarter. It shouldn't be possible for a player to singlehandedly destroy a team so swiftly and so comprehensively as Paul did to the Thunder, and it damn sure shouldn't look so easy. Paul never really even had to venture into the paint, and he didn't shoot a single free-throw during his 28 minutes on the floor.
That's the real unfathomable thing about last night—how utterly in control Paul looked while rolling over OKC. His first five threes came during the kind of first-quarter barrage that we're used to seeing from Steph Curry or J.R. Smith, but without the bedlam that follows those two. J.R. can hit four three-pointers in a row and you'll still give him a No no no no! on the fifth, and Curry bombing from long-range is always sudden, more like a series of lightning strikes than efficient basketball plays. There was none of that in Paul's game last night. He unleashed one of the greatest shooting performances in playoff history, and yet everything about the game felt centered, the sets and releases on his shots as calm as if he were just putting up jumpers in practice. Paul didn't look like a guy with smoke coming out of his hands as much as he did a point guard in complete control of his offense, just taking the shots that were there. It so happened that none of those shots had a chance at missing, but none of them looked like they were supposed to miss, either.
We've talked about this before, but it's easy to forget just how great of a player Chris Paul really is, and last night was a good example of how that's even possible. While I watched him dismantle the Thunder, I never felt like the roof was going to come down, I just felt like I was watching Chris Paul go about his business. Maybe that speaks to his greatness more than a 60-point game ever could have.