The Phoenix Suns are heading to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993 after outscoring the Los Angeles Clippers 130-103 on Wednesday night. With both teams looking to win their first-ever championship, the Suns won in six games.
The Suns knocked out the Clippers at Staples Center after winning their first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. No team has ever won multiple playoffs in the same road building in a single NBA playoff season.
The Suns improve to 12-4 in the playoffs and 6-2 on the road.
The Suns weren’t in the playoffs for the past 10 years and now they’re heading into the NBA Finals. This will be their third appearance in the NBA Finals after appearing in 1976 and 1993.
Here are the biggest takeaways after Game 6:
The Suns’ best players were their best players to conclude. Chris Paul had 41 points on 16 of 24 shots and eight assists. Devin Booker scored 22 points and Deandre Ayton was an inside beast with a double-double of 16 points and 17 rebounds.
The 27-point win came because the Suns shot the ball so effectively, reaching 56.4 percent from field and 17 of 31 from three points.
CP3 needs four more
For Paul, his fifth NBA team is the charm.
Paul makes his first NBA Finals in his 16th professional year at 36. He did it through the team he played for six years. Paul was third on the all-time list for most non-appearing playoff games in the final with 123, behind only Al Horford (124) and Paul Millsap (129). Paul was known to have the most points, All-Star selections and All-NBA selections by any player for not appearing in an NBA Finals. But these sequences are now over.
Paul had so many playoff starts due to injury it seemed like he was cursed and it would never happen. Now he’s in the final, beating the Clippers without star Kawhi Leonard and waiting for two Eastern Conference teams currently with injured stars. In Game 1 of the playoffs, Paul injured his right shoulder but fought. He missed the first two games of the conference final after testing positive for COVID-19. But none of that matters now as he added another stellar performance to his Hall of Fame CV. This resume includes 11 all-star appearances, 10 All-NBA team selections, nine All-NBA defensive team honors, he led the NBA in assists four times and stole six times, and won. two Olympic gold medals.
Point to God
With 41 points, including 31 in the second half, Paul was the best player on the pitch all night and the happiest after the final whistle. After also scoring 37 points in the deciding game against the Denver Nuggets, he is now the oldest player in playoff history with 35 points in back-to-back closing games. The second oldest is Michael Jordan, who did so at 33.
In 2018, Chris Paul had the chance to win his first conference final. He scored 41 points on 0 turnovers.
Tonight, Chris Paul had the chance to win his first final. He scored 41 points on 0 turnovers.
– StatMuse (@statmuse) July 1, 2021
The 41 points equaled his career playoff high and is the second greatest playoff game by a player 36 or older in NBA history. The best part about his stat line is that he didn’t have any turnovers in an elimination game.
– Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) July 1, 2021
CP3 shows love to Lil Wayne after victory
It all started in NOLA. pic.twitter.com/vroW6yc7i9
– Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 1, 2021
Patrick Beverley Ejection
Four years ago this week, Paul forced a sign and trade from the Clippers to the Houston Rockets. There remains one player on the Clippers of this trade, Patrick Beverley.
Beverley was the only Clipper with a positive plus-minus in the first half on Wednesday, but he left the game on a negative note after taking a low blow in frustration with Paul for resuming the game.
It’s a tough loss for the Clippers at home after going 5-1 at Staples Center in their last six games. There were some bright spots to take away from this season, however, in Ty Lue’s first year they certainly showed the character to stand up for himself in dire situations. They were down 3-2 on the road against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round and faced elimination against the Utah Jazz, down 22 at halftime at home. They came back to win both games and won both series. Injuries to rotating players have become too difficult to overcome. Ivica Zubac was out for Game 6 with an MCL sprain, Serge Ibaka had already finished the year and Leonard was ruled out for at least the rest of the series. With Leonard having the option of opting out, the off-season plot unfolds for Los Angeles after still missing the finale in Steve Balmer’s era of ownership.
The Suns will face the Milwaukee Bucks or Atlanta Hawks, who are tied for two in their Eastern Conference Finals series. The Suns will have a field advantage in the NBA Finals, no matter who they face.