The 2007-08 season legitimized Chris Paul's status as a superstar in the NBA.
Paul led the New Orleans Hornets to a franchise-record 56 wins by averaging 21.1 points per game and leading the league with averages of 11.6 assists and 2.7 steals per game. In this season, he would earn the first of nine consecutive All-Star selections, the first of four All-NBA First-Team selections and finish second in MVP voting behind Kobe Bryant.
All at the age of 22.
Playing a large part in Paul's emergence to the next level of stardom was his performance against some of the more established veteran point guards in the NBA. On Feb. 6, 2008, Paul and the Hornets made their way to the Valley of the Sun to take on two-time league MVP Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns, who had just acquired Shaquille O'Neal from the Miami Heat.
As a subscript to this meeting, the Hornets were within one game of the Suns in the Western Conference standings. What more could you ask for?
It should come as no surprise that CP3 stepped up to the challenge to lead New Orleans to a 132-130 win in double overtime, scoring 42 points (on 18-for-33 shooting) to go along with nine assists, eight assists and five rebounds. Nash, on the other hand, finished with 32 points and 12 assists but the defence of Paul led to Nash committing an uncharacteristic 10 turnovers.
The battle of All-Star point guards took centre stage, but this is a classic game in every sense of the word. The high-scoring affair saw six players score 20 or more points, with All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire recording a 26-point, 20-rebound double-double and first-time All-Star David West finishing with 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Hornets.
This one is worth tuning into for the thrilling finish alone.
With the Hornets up three late in the second overtime period, Leandro Barbosa knocked down an extremely difficult triple, his fourth 3 of the night. All signs pointed towards a third overtime period.
On the ensuing play sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic, who finished with 26 points (on 12-for-19 shooting), knocked down a contested turnaround jumper as time expired to deliver a big road win for the Hornets.
In one of the most highly contested races in the Western Conference, that game would prove to be crucial in the grand scheme, as the Hornets (56-26) would finish second in the standings, just one game ahead of the sixth-seeded Suns (55-27), though it is worth noting that the Utah Jazz (54-28) finished fourth by virtue of capturing the Northwest Division crown.
Watch the game below:
Phoenix would fall to the San Antonio Spurs in the opening round in the postseason while New Orleans pushed San Antonio to seven games before falling in the second round.
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