Paul’s LA debut sets new NBA TV record
NEW YORK – CHICAGO - The Associated Press
Chris Paul’s move from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Clippers is the biggest transfer move in the NBA off-season. REUTERS PhotoChris Paul’s debut with the Los Angeles Clippers was the most-watched preseason game in NBA TV history.
The Clippers’ 114-95 victory over the Lakers on Dec. 19 night drew 509,000 viewers, a network spokesman said yesterday. The previous record of 501,000 viewers came in another celebrated debut, when the Miami Heat beat Detroit on Oct. 10, 2010, in their first game with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Paul finished with 17 points, nine assists and seven rebounds Monday night.
Paul was traded from the New Orleans Hornets to the Clippers last week, joining All-Star forward Blake Griffin as the foundation of one of the league’s most exciting teams.
Meanwhile, reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Chicago Bulls worth approximately $94 million, a person familiar with the situation said.
The extension will start in the 2012-13 season, when Rose is eligible to make about $16 million.
The Chicago Tribune, citing sources, first reported the deal. The person spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been finalized.
The local product went from Rookie of the Year to All-Star to MVP in his first three seasons, becoming the youngest player to win that award. He also joined Michael Jordan as the only Bulls players to win the MVP.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder took some satisfaction in sweeping Dallas during the NBA’s shortened preseason - even if it wasn’t the Western Conference finals.
James Harden had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Russell Westbrook added 12 points and the Thunder beat the Mavericks for the second time in three days, winning 87-83 on Dec. 20 night.
Oklahoma City won 106-92 at Dallas on Dec. 18, although Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd didn’t play for the Mavericks in that game. Both saw action in the second game but mostly struggled.
Jerome Randle led Dallas with 17 points while Brandan Wright had 12.
Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant, a two-time NBA scoring champ, had 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting in 21 minutes. He sat out the entire fourth quarter, as did Nowitzki and Kidd.