Other candidates for the award included Kevin Durant, who scored a game-high 30 points, and Clippers teammate Blake Griffin, who dazzled with some of the night's best highlight-reel fodder. But at the end of the day, Paul's unique brio and penchant for distribution made him the well-deserved choice.
This performance, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is evidence that Chris Paul is healthy and ready for the season's second half. He missed nine games with a bum knee in late January and early February, and his team struggled mightily in his absence. But any alarms that might have sounded in Clipper Nation were emphatically hushed on Sunday.
Depending on how you classify Allen Iverson, Paul becomes the first true point guard to win the award since John Stockton split it with Karl Malone in 1993. No point guard has won sole MVP honors since Magic Johnson the year before that. Modern-day MVPs have traditionally been high-scoring wingmen, so seeing Paul win with 15 dimes was a refreshing change of pace.
Per ESPN's Darren Rovell (though alluded to on the TNT broadcast), Paul becomes the first Clipper to ever win the award:
That being said, the Clippers' antecedent, the Buffalo Braves, saw swingman Randy Smith take home the hardware in 1978 (ironically the team's last season in Buffalo before moving to San Diego). But still, Paul's honor was historic, entertaining and well deserved.
Now back to the real games.