Paul Westphal (born November 30, 1950) is an American former Basketball player and head coach in the NBA. He is currently an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks. A native of California, Westphal has had a storied career in the NBA, both as a player and as a head coach. From 2001-2006, Westphal was the men's basketball head coach at Pepperdine University. He then worked as a studio analyst for Fox Sports Net West/Prime Ticket for Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers games, first joining them during the Clippers' 2006 playoff run. In 2007, Westphal announced the locally broadcast USC basketball games with Jim Watson on FSN Prime Ticket. Westphal was also a studio analyst along with Don Maclean for the 2007 Pacific 10 Men's Basketball Post Season Tournament games that aired on FSN.
Westphal was born in Torrance, California. He was drafted in 1972 by the Boston Celtics out of USC. After three seasons there, including a championship ring in 1974, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns, the team that he helped get to the 1976 NBA Finals. In Game 5 of that series, called by many the greatest game ever played in basketball, Westphal made a critical play: With one second to go and the Suns down 111 to 110 but in possession of the ball and trapped by the Celtics' defense, Westphal called for a time-out. He knew the Suns had no time-outs left, so a technical foul was called on him. The Celtics made a free throw, taking a two-point lead, but the timeout call allowed Phoenix to inbound the ball at midcourt, rather than go the full length of the court. (As a result of this play, the NBA changed the rules prior to the following season.) Garfield Heard then made a shot for the Suns that sent the game into triple-overtime. The Suns ended up losing the game and the series.
Was 6th in the NBA in scoring average for the 1977-78 season at 25.2 ppg. The following 1978-79 season he was 7th with NBA 24.0 per game average.
After the 1979-1980 season, he was traded again, to the Seattle SuperSonics, where he played one season before heading to the New York Knicks. In 1983, he returned to Phoenix for a last hurrah. Injured, he only played in 59 of the 82 games of his final season.
He scored a total of 12,809 NBA points for an average of 15.1 points per game, with 3,591 assists for a total of 4.4 assists per game. He also had 1,580 rebounds, for an average of 1.9 per game. He was a 5-time All-Star and 3 times an All-NBA selection and one time a second team All-NBA selection. Is Phoenix's fifth all-time leading scorer (9,564), averaging 20.6 points (1975-80, 1983-84) and a member of the Sun's Ring of Honor.
In 1992 he became the head coach of the Phoenix Suns. For several years prior, he was an assistant coach with the Suns under head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons. With players such as Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle, Richard Dumas, and the newly-acquired Charles Barkley and Danny Ainge, the Suns made it to the Finals in Westphal's first season as a coach, but eventually lost to the Chicago Bulls in six games. Coincidentally, Game 3 between the two teams went to triple overtime (the Suns won the game) and is considered one of the greatest games ever played.
While the Suns made the playoffs during each of Westphal's seasons as coach, they did not return to the finals, and Westphal was replaced during the 1995-1996 season. He served as an assistant coach for a high school team in Arizona for two years before he returned to the NBA as a coach with the SuperSonics for the 1998-1999 season. He coached in Seattle until he was fired during the 2000-01 season. He returned to the college ranks in the fall of 2001 at Pepperdine. At Pepperdine, Westphal lead the team to NCAA Tournament in his first season, but after a 7-20 season in 2005-2006, Westphal was fired from the Pepperdine head coaching job on March 15, 2006.
On June 28, 2007, the Dallas Mavericks announced they had signed Westphal as a new assistant coach to Avery Johnson.
- Paul Westphal's bio on Phoenix Suns' website
- Paul Westphal's official bio on NBA.com
- Paul Westphal's statistics on DatabaseBasketball.com
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