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The Suns and CP3

NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - June 16, 2021 - 12:00am

The Phoenix Suns had made it to the NBA Finals twice but lost it both times. In 1976, they surrendered to the Boston Celtics in six games. With Charles Barkley leading the team, they again went to the Finals but lost in six games to the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan in 1993.

It was 2010 when the Suns last made the Western Conference Finals. Headlined by Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Jason Richardson and Grant Hill, they went up against the LA Lakers bannered by Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher and Metta World Peace. The Suns lost to the Lakers in six. The Lakers went on to win the title over the Celtics.

The Suns are waiting for the winner of the Utah-LA Clippers series. In the Game 4 closeout, Chris Paul and Devin Booker had been scorching, tearing the nets with 37 and 34 points respectively, in the process becoming the third pair of Suns teammates to score at least 34 points in the same playoff game, joining Barkley (43) and Dan Majerle (34) in 1993 and Nash (39) and Shawn Marion (38) in 2005.

Denver just doesn’t have enough answer to the backcourt combo of Paul and Booker.  But this does not mean that the Suns are all about the duo. DeAndre Ayton, Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Payne and Jae Crowder (providing the muscle) are valuable pieces.

Paul had an assortment of injuries at some points in his career and this time played with a shoulder injury since the first round of the playoffs. At 36-years old, he’s the same age as LeBron James and although time had slowed them both, they had gotten better with age.  CP3 mastered the mid-range game and in this series, averaged 25.5 points and was perfect on the free throw line.  

His game proves that you don’t have to depend much on shooting 3s but just be great on the shots that you rely on. And mostly, CP3’s mid-range jumpers are as sure as making layups.

It has been a decade since the Suns appeared in the post season and Paul’s arrival brought them back to the Conference Finals. He had been to the playoffs several times, but this could be CP3’s first NBA Finals and possibly give Phoenix its first ever league championship and his first NBA title.

CHRIS PAUL
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