Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes blasted hip-hop through a pair of speakers.

Clippers backup point guard Eric Bledsoe discussed the virtues of learning from two of the premier ballhandlers in the NBA. Clippers forward Grant Hill, 40, joked about his age, stretching his limbs with long elastic bands in preparation for another two-hour game.

Chris Paul was seated, silent and motionless. And he stood out above everything.

The best point guard in the NBA wore a splashy, high-end suit inside the locker room while his teammates put on Clippers red and blue.

Paul, 27, didn't take the court Jan. 15 during Los Angeles' 117-109 victory over the Rockets at Toyota Center. The Clippers were so good he didn't need to.

Paul, who has been nursing a bruised knee, watched his rising team up close and from afar. At times, the No. 4 overall pick of the 2005 NBA draft was childlike. Eager, smiling and joyous, trading inside commentary with 16-year veteran Chauncey Billups while vocally pushing Bledsoe to excel.

Others times, Paul was as smooth, professional and mature as ever. A six-time All-Star wrapped in a businessman's exterior, as much Cliff Paul — his television commercial alter ego — as CP3.

All who discussed the 6-foot Paul spoke of his on-the-court killer instinct. Teammates and Rockets opponents praised his multidimensional talent, basketball intelligence and MVP-caliber 2012-13 season. But those in Clipperland who know him pointed to Paul's duality as the core of his success.

"For me, when I'm on that court, it's all about competition, and it's all about trying to win," said Paul, who leads the NBA in steals per game (2.56), ranks second in assists (9.7) and trails only 6-10 forward Blake Griffin on the Clippers in scoring (16.6). "Then, after the game's over, I've got a family just like everybody else. You've got relationships with people.