Chris Paul knows that the job ain’t finished yet. The Clippers came at him with their best shots, but his team came through at the end.
In one of the best defensive battles of this year’s playoffs, the Phoenix Suns prevailed 84-80 in a humdinger at the Staples Center. They weren’t particularly good on the offensive end, scoring just 34 points in the second half.
But they got the job done defensively for most of the game, keeping the Clippers at arm’s length. There was a period when the two teams combined to miss 16 straight shots. This streak was broken by the Suns, and it was downhill for Paul George and co from there on.
Chris Paul and his Suns will once again be thankful to Deandre Ayton for another complete showing from the big man. Ayton has been displaying his caliber through all 3 rounds of the playoffs, and this game was the latest example.
Chris Paul ducks question about 3-1 lead from Rachel Nichols
Chris Paul would be overcome with emotion for his first playoff win at Staples Center in 4 years. Having brought them to the brink of contention during his years here, CP3 has an emotional connect with fans of the franchise:
“Man, it was crazy. That team over there, they’re fighting. They’re fighting man, they’ve done so well. They compete. And man, to play so many games over in this building, in front of these amazing fans…we still got a ways to go but it felt good to get a win here.”
Rachel Nichols, in characteristic ESPN clickbait fashion that has by now become their signature, wanted to bring back some old, and possibly unhealed wounds with her next question:
“You have done something no other team has done in the playoffs this year – go up 3-1 on the Clippers.”
CP3 was definitely having none of that. He didn’t want anything to do with a line of questioning 3 years back when his Rockets went up 3-1 on the Jazz, and he made it clear that he wasn’t going to talk about it this time either:
“Yeah, I don’t wanna talk about 3-1. I’ve had a bad experience with that.”