Sometimes, you just have to laugh at Chris Paul’s knack for pissing people off.
The Phoenix Suns got a crucial 128-105 win against the New York Knicks in their bid to continue fighting for the first seed in the Western Conference. However, the most memorable of the game for me was seeing Taj Gibson get called for a flagrant and then watching Paul’s reaction.
The sequence after was classic CP3, too. Paul got up, made a show of throwing his hands up, and talked shit to Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau. He also hammed it up for the refs, as he’s prone to do.
What cracks me up, though, is just how much Paul seems to relish these moments. The man really seems to enjoy pushing buttons. He has a reputation for wanting to try to take advantage of any possible edge in a game – including driving opponents nuts. Phoenix’s 36-year-old point guard will always be an annoying opponent, and there are plenty of examples of players that hate him losing control.
Basketball is a mental game as much as it is physical, and players like Paul are kings of the mental duel. He’s not just good at angering opponents, he’s also excellent at goading refs into making calls. He also gets his teammates fired up at the same time, which makes a big difference.
It was a pretty close game until the fourth quarter, and it was 90-88 heading into the final stanza. The Knicks were only down 107-96 at when the flagrant happened, and with over seven minutes left had a chance to make a run. Instead, they got outscored 38-17 in the quarter.
The Knicks lost their composure, and even saw Julius Randle get called for a technical foul after getting into it with Jae Crowder. You can’t attribute all of that to Paul, but a fair bit of the credit has to go to him and then Crowder for taking advantage of their opponents’ boiling emotions.
To celebrate today’s latest example of his mastery, here are a few other classic CP3 moments involving technicals, referees, and fights.
If you can make a legendary pest like Patrick Beverley lose his mind, you know you’re onto something.