ORLANDO, Fla. -- As Chris Paul walked by Blake Griffin after Sunday night’s All-Star Game, Griffin barked at him like a dog then facetiously said, “Maaaaaaan, I’m hungry.”
It was a silly, inside joke that no one else in the room understood. But it was another example of the unspoken bond between the two Los Angeles Clippers all-star starters.
That chemistry was on display Sunday night as Paul and Griffin hooked up for a couple mouth-covering alley-oops and played key roles in the West’s 152-149 victory over the East. Paul finished with eight points and a game-high 12 assists, while Griffin scored 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting.
Paul assisted on five of Griffin’s nine field goals, including some of the game’s best highlights.
“I lost count,” Griffin said when asked about all the passes from Paul.
Paul says there was no preferential treatment -- “I passed to whoever was open,” he says -- but he found Griffin time and time again. On one fast break in the first quarter, Paul led a four-on-one fast break. With West teammates to each of his sides, he instead went through the legs to a trailing Griffin for a powerful, one-handed slam dunk.
“It’s fun and we made some exciting plays, but to tell you the truth, we do all of that during the season,” Paul said.
The duo didn’t have a statement to make, because they both believe the Clippers are already on the map. But they definitely wanted to hook up for a few alley-oops to represent their city and organization.
“I wouldn’t say show off, but I think we showed some of our chemistry out there,” Griffin said. “It was definitely familiar playing with him, and I love playing with a point guard of that magnitude. I get to do it every day, so it was cool to be able to show that in more of a relaxed setting.”
For Paul, it was just like any other game, he said.
“I can make defenders think I’m going to drive the lane, but I know Blake is going to be somewhere near ready to take the pass,” he says.
Maybe that’s what Griffin means when he says, “Maaaaaaan, I’m hungry.”