With a superb performance from star point guard Chris Paul, the Phoenix Suns became Western Conference champions by defeating the LA Clippers 130-103 in Game 6 to return to the NBA Finals after 28 years.
CP3 finished with 41 points, eight assists and 4 tables for the cause of the Suns that will play the third NBA Finals in their history where they will meet the winner of the Eastern Final the Atlanta Hawks or the Milwaukee Bucks, whose series it is tied 2-2.
CP3 reached the NBA Finals for the first time in his 16-season career at the same Staples Center where he helped give the Clippers some respect during his six seasons.
The Suns last reached the NBA Finals in 1993 under Charles Barkley, but lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games. Their only other Finals appearance was in 1976, when they lost in six games to the Boston Celtics.
The Suns’ playoff run has ignited an inactive fan base that hadn’t seen their team in the postseason since 2010. The Suns will have those fans supporting them in the Finals as well, as they will count home advantage against anyone. team exiting the Eastern Conference due to their best regular-season record.
“I’m sorry when we go out on the court,” said (of fan support) coach Monty Williams at the start of the series. “That environment, I don’t know of any other environment like it. There may be some as noisy, but no one is louder than our fans on game nights.”
Williams’ first season as NBA head coach came in 2010-11 when CP3 was his point guard with the Pelicans. Now the pair will head to the championship round together.
“I’ve known Chris for 11 years, so we could be here all day talking about our friendship,” Williams said before Game 6. “He’s bigger than basketball. There’s a connection and a kinship from the tough conversations, the training, texting, FaceTime, watching games. That probably catches my eye, along with a few other things. “
And the Suns will need a few more wins – four, to be precise, to take home the first title in their 53 years of existence.