Chris Paul finished with 41 points, 8 assists and three steals in the 130-103 win as the Phoenix Suns clinched their best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series against the Los Angeles Clippers, 4-2.
The Suns will be returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993.
“We still got a lot of work to do, but we’re going to enjoy this,” Paul said. “Sixteen years, surgeries, hard work, losses, bad losses, but we’re going to enjoy tonight.”
Paul, in his 16th year and fifth team in the league, is hoping to seal a hall-of-fame career with the Larry O’Brien trophy. He’s an 11-time all-star who has two Olympic gold medals, but has largely been thwarted in his career in terms of deep playoff runs.
“But the big reason was the light-skinned God right here, No. 1, Devin Booker,” Paul added.
Booker added 22 points in the series-clinching victory.
“This is what we set out to get tonight, so we didn’t want to go back to Phoenix without it,” Booker said.
The Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard had sat out the majority of the series due to injury. Paul George was explicit in pointing that out following the loss.
“You are talking about one of the best players being out and we are inches from being to the next round,” George said. “It’s a lot of what-ifs, but we didn’t make it.”
Phoenix will now await the results of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks.
Those two teams — similar to the Denver Nuggets with Jamal Murray, Los Angeles Lakers with Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Clippers with Kawhi Leonard — are dealing with injuries to their star players.
The stars may finally be aligning on all sides for Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns.