CP3 will be facing friendly rivalry with TP

Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul has been credited for much of the turnaround in his franchise that was culminated by their first-round playoff series victory over Memphis Sunday afternoon.

It was only the second seven-game series victory in the 42-season history of the Clippers.

Paul is eagerly anticipating a chance to play against Spurs point guard Tony Parker, an old friend for many years.

Paul and Parker exchange texts frequently and have communicated since the Clippers’ victory at Memphis.

“He sent me a text saying “Congratulations, see you soon,” We talk all the time,” Paul said.

Paul’s son and wife traveled from Memphis to San Antonio after Sunday’s game. Shortly after their arrival, 2-year-old Chris Paul Jr. recognized a familar face at San Antonio International Airport.

“When they got off the plane last night, my wife said the first thing he did he was that he saw a picture of Tony and yelled his name,” Paul said, chuckling.

The Spurs and Parker eliminated Paul’s deepest advancement into the playoffs when they eliminated New Orleans in seven games in the 2008 Western Conference semifinals. Those games helped cement the friendship between Paul and Parker.

“TP is unbelievable,” Paul said. “He had an unbelievable season. He’s a great friend of mine. We talk on a regular basis.  The kid is just an overall great guy and great player. He’s somebody I’ve always had fun competing against.” 

Paul finished third in the MVP balloting and Parker was fifth. Paul said that Parker has had the best season of his 11-season NBA career this season.

“First of all, people are just noticing him a little bit more now,” Paul said. “You know Tony’s been this good for a long time. Me and him have talked about it before. I think it’s because he came into the league so young and Tim (Duncan) and them (the Spurs) have been so good for so long that at times people forget how great he is on a nightly basis.”

Owing to both playing collegiately at Wake Forest, Paul also is close with Spurs captain Tim Duncan.

But even with his association with Duncan and Parker, Paul said he won’t have any trouble putting aside his friendship to allow his  team to advance.

“It’s one of those things where we are all so competitive that we put it aside,” Paul said. “They know when we step on the court there’s none of that.”   

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