After a season that barely lived up to its playoff expectations, there are a few questions the Suns need to ask themselves before they can fully move forward. The first is, “Who will lead us forward?” I’d like to think that, after a disappointing postseason, the answer is Josh Jackson. He had a solid rookie season, but he still has growing to do. He can become a better scorer, a more efficient player, and a better leader. He has more to prove, and he has the potential to do so much more than what the Suns have seen from him so far.
The Phoenix Suns are 1-0 in the NBA Finals, and they’re doing pretty well in that series. The way they’ve been playing, you’d think they would have zero chance against the Miami Heat. However, it’s not so simple. The young Suns have a very young team and they’re still figuring out how to play. Meanwhile, the Heat are a mature, veteran team that will be chomping at the bit to take advantage of the young Suns’ mistakes.
The Phoenix Suns have the best record in the NBA this season, and if they want to keep their 20-game win streak alive, they need to beat the Golden State Warriors in game one of the NBA finals. The Suns have a good, young core, but they also have an aging one: Steve Nash, Grant Hill, and Amar’e Stoudemire. These three players have been in the NBA for a decade, but looking at their ages, they don’t even look like they’re in their 30s.
The Phoenix Suns laid the groundwork for their resurgence in 2020-21 last year in Orlando. When the game was halted by a global pandemic in March 2020, the Suns were 26-39 and six games behind the eighth-ranked Memphis Grizzlies. Phoenix missed an outstanding comeback in Orlando, but an 8-0 record still impressed. Veterans like Chris Paul and Jay Crowder were added to the team in the offseason to give it stability.
The result: The Suns won 51-21 and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2010. They outpaced LA and the Denver Nuggets to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in 28 years. Phoenix settled well with the Milwaukee Bucks in the first two games and traveled to Wisconsin to take control of the series. Instead, they come home to fight 2-2 in a best-of-three series in which Milwaukee leads.
There were warning signs in the win in the second game. Chris Paul was unusually sloppy with the ball. But Phoenix’s 10-point victory overshadowed those signs. That was until the series went north. The Suns didn’t lose game 3 because of Paul; it was a 20-point defeat. But the fourth game rests entirely on the shoulders of the God of Points.
In the 16 seasons Chris Paul has played in the NBA, he has only once made more than three turnovers per game. During the 2008-09 season with the New Orleans Hornets, Paul averaged exactly 3.0 assists, while having 11.0 assists in the NBA. You will live with a 3.7:1 ratio of help to return.
Paul was 4.0 to 1 during the regular season and also led the league in free throw attempts. As a shooter, he just missed the rare 50/40/90 club, with 49.9% overall success, 39.5% success from deep and 93.4% success at the line.
In short, Chris Paul was exactly the veteran the Phoenix Suns needed to make the most of their young talent, including big man Deandre Ayton and young attackers Devin Booker and Cameron Johnson. And in the first three rounds of the playoffs, Paul has lived up to the expectations placed on him.
Jrue Holiday (21) of the Milwaukee Bucks steals the ball from Chris Paul of Phoenix Suns during the second half of Game 4 of the NBA Finals. | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
In the first three rounds of the playoffs, Chris Paul has been incredible for the Phoenix Suns. In 14 games, he averaged 8.7 assists and 1.6 turnovers per game (he missed games 1 and 2 against the Clippers in the Conference Finals despite being on the COVID scorecard).
The bottom line is that Paul has thrown 22 interceptions in 14 games. But in the NBA Finals, he’s already scored 17 points in four games. Including 15 in the last three games. His fifth and final turnaround in the fourth game was the deciding game of the match. With a two point lead and 34.8 seconds left to play, Paul fell and lost control of the ball. Milwaukee converted a non-contact throw-in and that, as they say, was the end of it. The Suns committed 17 errors and Paul didn’t budge when he took the lead, reports USA Today.
I was. I had five. It was a bad decision.
Chris Paul after losing Game 4
The poor decision-making undid Booker’s 42-point attack, which was coming back from a poor performance in the third (10 points on 3-of-14 shooting). The Suns squandered a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter and returned to Phoenix for Game 5. The consolation is that the Suns still have home field advantage, but the Phoenix Suns do have to worry about Chris Paul. Will he be able to change things?
In the first three rounds of the playoffs, Chris Paul’s assist-turnover ratio was 5.5 to 1. Not surprisingly, the Phoenix Suns won 10-4 in those games.
Paul is playing in the NBA Finals and has provided 33 assists in the first four games (8.3 per game). But the ratio is 1.9 to 1. In the last three games, it’s dropped to 1.7 to 1. With a performance like that, the first playmakers could end up on the bench.
Meanwhile, Paul’s score dropped with each game. He scored 32 points in the first game and 23 points in the win in the second game (with six turnovers). The two games in Milwaukee were not Chris Paul’s best 96 minutes of basketball. After scoring 19 points and four steals in Game 3, he scored just 10 points and five steals in Game 4.
For the first time in his career, Chris Paul is in the NBA Finals. In his 36th year and 16. season in the NBA, he thinks these playoffs are his best chance to get the ring. He’s in the Hall of Fame even without one. But this goes further.
Statistics provided by Basketball-Reference.
COMPARED TO: Chris Paul upsets the Milwaukee Bucks in the easiest way possible
The Phoenix Suns faced the defending NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors, for the second time this month. They won Game One in what was a close game, but Golden State would go on to win Game Two. With the series tied at 1-1, the Suns host Game Three on Wednesday night (June 6th) in Phoenix. It’s a must-win game for Phoenix, especially if it wants to avoid a crushing NBA Finals loss.. Read more about how many times has chris paul been to the finals and let us know what you think.
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