You’ve got to give credit to the New Orleans Pelicans. For a team that had to win two play-in games to make the playoffs, they showed a lot of resilience. After going down 53-34 after the first half, they showed a similar spirit as their game against the LA Clippers and fought tooth and nail to bring that deficit down to 79-71 heading into the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately for the brave Pelicans, they got a reminder about why the Suns were, by far, the best team in the NBA during the regular season. After the Pelicans had cut the lead to 82-75 with 10:45 remaining in the game, Chris Paul went into full ‘Point God’ mode against the team that drafted him almost 17 years ago.
Words don’t do justice to the performance, so it’s better to just give you a glimpse of what he did in the game in case you missed it.
Paul, who turns 37 next month, went nuts and scored 19 points while dishing out two assists in the fourth quarter. He was directly involved in 23 of the Suns’ 31 points scored in the period, and his efforts helped ensure the 110-99 victory and 1-0 series lead. When all was said and done, Paul had finished the game with 30 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists, three steals, a block, and just three turnovers along with a plus/minus of +20. He made 12 of 16 shots and 4 of 6 threes.
Of course, he didn’t do it alone. As the Suns have done all season, they won by committee, showing why they were still able to pile up regular season wins even while missing key players for long stretches.
Devin Booker had a fine game in his own right, finishing with 25 points, four rebounds and eight assists while shooting 8 of 19 from the field and 4 of 8 from beyond the arc.
DeAndre Ayton, who didn’t get the contract extension he wanted in the offseason, continued to play his way into a big payday with 21 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks. He even delighted home fans by making a three-pointer off, you guessed it, a Chris Paul assist.
Suns fans will be happy with this performance, but they know it’s still a long road to the mountaintop. However, this is a fantastic start to their quest to redeem themselves after blowing a 2-0 lead in last year’s NBA Finals.