The 36-year-old Phoenix star plays the title series for the first time in her career
It lasted 16 years, but Chris Paul’s chase is finally over. Sixteen years of ups and downs, of awards and bitter disappointments, especially in the playoffs. But this time everything is different. This time it is CP3 that is still on the pitch in the series that is worth the title, the one that plays with the Finals logo well printed in the center of the pitch. “Yes, being here is really different,” he told the media on the eve.
Paul earned his first career Finals at 36, playing sensational playoffs, as a phenomenon, as a Point God. In Los Angeles, when Phoenix closed his accounts with the Clippers in Game-6 and earned the chance to play for the title for the first time since 1993, Paul cried in the arms of his coach, Monty Williams. Those tears on the eve of the series against Milwaukee give way to determination, concentration, the knowledge that however exceptional this milestone is, the work for him and for the Suns is not yet finished. Paul is so focused that he seems almost distant when he answers the questions: “We are all focused on the goal – he answers firmly -. It’s strange not having played for a while, it’s strange that there are no other games to play besides the one I’m in. But I definitely prefer to be on the pitch than to stand outside and watch. In these days I have prepared a lot and now I am completely concentrated ”.
Paul only lets some emotion shine through when he talks about his family. “My children have an age at which they understand what’s happening: it makes what I’m experiencing even more special – he says -. My daughter, for example, has never been interested in what I was doing, seeing dad playing basketball. But at the end of the conference finals, when I looked towards the grandstand and saw that she too was showing emotions, I really understood what was going on ”.
Paul returns determined when he has to talk about Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton, the other two pillars of Phoenix’s sensational ride to the Finals: “They are our two leaders – he says -, we expect them to make a difference in every game. For us as a team it is important to win and to be sure we have the right approach to what we are doing. We know how to manage ourselves, we know when we have to concentrate and when we can relax ”.
… and opponents
Paul has been targeting Milwaukee for a few days. With Giannis Antetokounmpo still in doubt, CP3 knows full well that the danger will come from others. As per Jrue Holiday. “He is someone who plays the right way: he defends and scores – he says -. My parents have known him and his family for a long time: he’s a fantastic person, the fact that he’s there makes the show so much more interesting. ” Then off, with the head already in game-1 against Milwaukee, scheduled at 3 am Italian on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday. Paul knows well how concentrated he must be, how fundamental the stage he plays, how much Phoenix needs him to be the leader who has allowed this group of young talents to make a leap in quality so important that they find themselves catapulted to the Finals. And even if CP3 plays them for the first time, it knows it has to be decisive. Also because the title is another thing he has been following for 16 years, all his career. And he doesn’t have 16 more as a player to keep chasing him.
July 5, 2021 (change July 6, 2021 | 00:54)
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