Chris Paul is a punk — unless he’s wearing your team’s jersey. Which means he’s no punk at all. Anyone who’s not a Hornets fan probably disagrees. Anyone who braved snow-packed streets and bitterly cold weather to watch the Thunder defeat New Orleans 104-93 on Wednesday night definitely disagrees. Even though hearts sank when Paul suffered a left ankle sprain early in the game, hopes for a Thunder victory rose with the Hornet star sidelined. He’s not only one of the best players in the NBA but also one of the feistiest. He does little things that bug the bejeezus out of opponents. He kicks out his leg on jumpers to draw a foul. He exaggerates contact to make it look like he’s been bashed instead of bumped. He wants every call, even if there’s no way it should go his way. He tries to figure out any way to get an edge. Anything to help his team win. Hornets first-year coach Monty Williams heard all about Paul’s skill and talent before taking the job last summer. “But I had no idea he was such a competitor,” the rookie head coach said. “Rarely do you see superstar guys playing one-on-one at the end of practice after a long practice, and I’ve seen him do that countless times.” Paul wants to win. Badly. The reason he returned Wednesday night when it looked like he might’ve suffered an ankle injury that would sideline most players for weeks is the same reason he does those little things that so annoy everyone else in the league. Paul is a lot like Reggie Miller. That guy was a thorn in the side of every NBA team, but he is a legend in Indiana. Go to Indianapolis, where he played for almost two decades, and try to find someone who thinks he was dirty. Ask any Pacers fan, and see if they think he was devious. None of those folks thinks Miller was anything but brilliant. Ditto for Paul and Hornets fans. But if you want Exhibit A for why Paul is no punk, you need look no further than our fair city. Hey, OKC, remember when you loved CP3? Paul was the face of the franchise when the Hornets were in town, and it was a mug that everyone adored. He was cheered loudest. He was lauded longest. And when the Hornets went home to New Orleans, he was missed most. Now, Paul has become a guy that Thunder fans love to hate. Granted, Paul has kicked up his on-court antics over the past few seasons. But don’t kid yourself, Oklahoma City. Paul was doing much of the same stuff when he was here, and you loved it then. You thought he was just doing everything in his power to win. Guess what? That’s what he’s still doing. He just happens to doing it wearing another city’s name on his jersey. Then, he was a fan favorite. Now, he’s a royal pain. He’s a bad guy. He’s a black-cape-wearing, mustache-twisting, evil-cackling villain. Right before halftime Wednesday night, Paul drew a foul on Russell Westbrook. The point guards were going after a loose ball, and when they collided, Paul reacted like he’d been hit with a windmill punch. A fan behind the scorer’s table yelled, “And the Oscar goes to ... ” Another answered, “Paul!” It was vintage CP3. It gave him an advantage, stole a couple points and miffed everyone in Thunder blue. He knows how to get under opponents’ skin. “He’s good,” Williams said. “That’s enough.” Enough to drive people crazy. Enough to brand him a punk. But Oklahoma City, you know the truth. Paul might be a pest and a pain, but he is no punk.