In a physical series that produced some high-drama moments, Chris Paul put on a historical playoff performance to lead the Phoenix Suns to a victory over the New Orleans Pelicans to close out their first round series and advance to the second round.
Paul became the first player in NBA history to make 13+ shots in a playoff game without a miss, finishing with 33 points on 14-fo-14 shooting despite the high pressure and full court presses the Pelicans employed.
“We needed it,” Paul said. “Coming out the third quarter I saw the way the game was going, I think we was down 10, so I had to force the issue.”
“I think Chris did something historical tonight in a closeout game,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said. “We needed it. When you win and he does that in a closeout game, that’s special.”
“Nobody has seen this, 14-for-14, that’s a first time for all of us,” Suns superstar guard Devin Booker said. “It gives you the utmost confidence playing alongside him. Knowing he’s going to take care of the ball, knowing the ball is going to find the right person on time, on target. So that’s a lot of confidence. Especially down the stretch when it’s a close game.”
The Suns now move on the play the Dallas Mavericks after an emotional series with the Pelicans. Paul and Williams have deep ties with New Orleans and Pelicans head coach Willie Green was a part of the Suns coaching staff during their impressive run to the NBA Finals last season.
“We’re all family,” Williams said. “I know what (Green) brought to the table for our program and you saw it this year with his program. I had a lot of conversations with him earlier in the season when things weren’t going well, and Willie Green is one of the more steady people that I’ve ever been around.”
“He was consistent and stable and strong through it all and it’s one of the reasons why they continue to get better,” Williams continued. “I just know that feeling. I know what it’s like. To see him in that place, that’s a tough spot for all of us because at the end of the day we’re all friends, we’re all brothers. And after we’re done coaching, we’re going to be that way.”
“I don’t think people ever really understand our relationship,” Paul said. “I’m not in Phoenix if not for Willie. He’s the first person that ever even knew about me even having a thought of coming to Phoenix, you know what I’m saying? He’s a coach, but that’s my teammate and my brother first and foremost.”