LOS ANGELES, CA – Thanks to a brilliant 41-point display in a series-clinching 130-101 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul finally got over the post-season monkey off of his proverbial back in advancing to his first-ever NBA Finals.
Paul, widely considered the best point guard to never play in an NBA Final, as he has 123 postseason starts most all-time as well as the most points all-time of player to have never played in a Finals, made sure to close the deal in front of a pro-Paul crowd in the same arena he spent six years playing in as a former Clipper, with longtime friend and Clippers superfan in Hollywood A-lister Billy Crystal in attendance.
In a somewhat fitting and bittersweet moment for the former Wake Forest star, Paul displayed his uncanny three-point marksmanship in going 7-8 from long range, in addition to dishing out eight assists and zero turnovers, the 36-year-old “Master of the Mid-Range Shot” is four wins away from his first ever NBA championship.
If there is anyone who deserves a ring, it is CP3, due to either always being injured, being on the losing end of a blown 3-1 lead and just being plain ol’ snakebitten by tough luck.
Very few players “deserve” a ring, but no player in the modern game has helped redefine the present-day point guard more than Paul thanks to his toughness, leadership, uncanny ability to find the open man or make a big shot.
While fellow point guards such as Allen Iverson, John Stockton, Kevin Johnson and Mark Price can make similar arguments, Paul is the quintessential archetype of what a “floor general” should be.
To say that he was robbed of a chance to play in Los Angeles for the Lakers, due to the NBA owning the Hornets is unkind, and in being dealt to the Clippers is still a point of bitter contention amongst fans to this day.
One can only wonder how Paul would have looked and played alongside the late Kobe Bryant, and whether not he would even be in this position today. While one shouldn’t mourn the past, nor argue with what happened before, with Paul now on the precipice of finally getting his long overdue flowers, there is no doubt that it would be well-deserved.