Source: (Hashtag Basketball - Brian Han)
(LOS ANGELES, Calif.) -- Let's be honest.
Anything less than a deep playoff run for the Los Angeles Clippers means little to nothing for guard Chris Paul.
All-Star selections, Olympic Gold Medals, and now his sixth NBA 2015-16 All-Defensive First Team announced on Wednesday are all secondary to his championship quest.
But as each year passes, the ultra-competitive 31-year-old is running out of time to accomplish the feat. His postseason frustration can be summed up in a short clip.
He practically carried his entire team through the regular season without the high-flying Blake Griffin by his side. What resulted was a 53-29 record -- good enough for the fourth seed in a stacked Western Conference.
While the postseason inched closer, Griffin's return became imminent and it seemed as if all would be well again in Southern California.
The Clippers absolutely demolished their first round opponent Portland Trail Blazers in the first two games.
The team seemed more than ready to take on a Golden State Warriors team in the next round especially with hobbled superstar Stephen Curry on the horizon. In fact, the last time the two teams met in the postseason back in 2014, the Clippers took the series in seven games.
Then Murphy's Law took the wheel and drove the ship straight to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
Paul broke his hand in a freak accident after getting it caught in Gerald Henderson, Jr.'s jersey.
Then a few minutes passed and Blake tapped out after reaggravating a left quadricep tendon tear (but also because he thought, "What's the point?" and who could blame him).
The playoffs chugged on. The Cleveland Cavaliers went on a 10-0 undefeated run. The Golden State Warriors breathed a sigh of relief as Curry put up a historic 17-point overtime as he yelled, "I'm back!"
Four games into the Western Conference Finals, the 73-9 Warriors are on the brink of elimination thanks to the well-timed peak of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Guard Russell Westbrook always had the swagger and confidence to believe he's better than the reigning MVP. Now he's changing the minds of fans around the world.
The Warriors and Clippers (and more specifically Curry and Paul) developed a deep rivalry over the years. It's hard for Paul to swallow Curry's meteoric rise to stardom. Once a participant at Paul's basketball summer camps, Curry was probably never seen as a major hurdle to the top.
During the 2015-16 season, both teams' players often deflected questions regarding their personal feelings toward the competition. It wouldn't make sense anyway when the bottom line was the score at the end of the game. Curry and Paul let their play do the talking and they always put up impressive numbers against each other.
But Curry seemed to always get away with a win as well as the last laugh.
Just like the back and forth simmered down over the years, it wouldn't be of much surprise if deep down Paul felt some sort of redemption seeing the Warriors, and especially Curry, getting trounced by the Thunder.
He's too smart to admit that much, but if anyone is feeling the most satisfaction, it's him.
As for being named to the NBA's All-Defensive First Team, it's just a small cherry on top.