The Suns escaped with a 3-1 lead over the Clippers in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. ESPN’s Rachel Nichols caught up with Chris Paul Interview after the game On the Staples Center floor. When Nichols mentioned the 3-1 advantage, Paul immediately interrupted her.
“Yes, I don’t want to talk about 3-1,” Paul said. “There are many bad experiences in this area.”
Paul mentioned the 2015 NBA playoffs when he was on the Clippers 3-1 lead Against the Rockets, but he may have more than one series. The 11-time All-Star player has suffered disastrous defeats and serious injuries on multiple teams, and has never reached the NBA Finals in the first 15 years of his career.
So, in the 16th year, when Paul saw an opportunity to seize that elusive Finals seat, he wouldn’t let it slip away from him. In Game 6 against the Clippers on Wednesday night, Paul led the Suns to a 130-103 victory with 41 points (16 of 24 shots), 8 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals.
The man known as the “point god” meticulously planned Phoenix’s offense in the second half, scoring 31 points and hitting all of his three-pointers. Perhaps his biggest shot came with less than two minutes left in the third quarter. The Clippers narrowed the Suns’ lead to 7 points after falling behind by 17 points, so Monty Williams asked for a timeout and exchanged Paul for the game. Paul made a three-pointer on his next possession and scored 14 of Phoenix’s next 16 points, extending the lead to 20 points early in the fourth quarter.
“This is a shot that helps me relax a certain part of my body,” Williams says.
That game proved to be a knockout game because the Suns beat the Clippers 33-20 in the final game, ensuring their most uneven victory in the series. Paul left the game with two minutes left. He knew he was about to enter the NBA Finals for the first time. When he hugged Williams, the emotions he was sitting on the bench poured out from him. When Williams coached Paul for the New Orleans Hornets at the time, he knew better than most that Paul had paid for this stage. How much effort.
The Suns’ performance in these NBA playoffs involved some lucky breaks, and many stars in the league were injured. Each of Phoenix’s opponents lost a key player before or during the playoffs: the Lakers and Anthony Davis, the Nuggets and Jamal Murray, the Clippers and Kawhi Leonard. Some critics may use the A (asterisk) as an excuse for these absences.
But considering his history, Paul doesn’t care about luck among everyone. Even in this special playoff game, Paul dealt with the shoulder problems that restricted him in the first round and the COVID-19 diagnosis that caused him to withdraw from the first two games of the Western Conference Finals.
So when Paul stood with Nichols after the 6th game, on the same Staples Center court, he experienced a lot of heartbreak, and he could finally breathe out. Nichols asked Paul what he thought of hearing the phrase “Chris Paul reached the NBA Finals.”
“Man, it sounds so fucking good,” Paul says. “that’s good.”