The Phoenix Suns are one of the hottest teams in the NBA, and they once again proved that after a tough 117-118 win against the Portland Trailblazers last night. Despite Damian Lillard's dominant 41 point performance, the game's hero was the experienced veteran Chris Paul, who once again showed age is not but a number. Paul took the scoring responsibility on himself, dropping a team-high 26 points and 7 assists while making big plays down the stretch.
The Suns are in the second spot in a tough western conference behind Utah Jazz and finally clinched their first playoff appearance since 2010. The Chris Paul effect is real since he constantly makes playoffs no matter what team he plays for, which is a testament to his greatness.
After the game, Charles Barkley wanted to ask Paul about Suns potentially playing against the Lakers or the Warriors in the first round. Paul wasn't having it and delivered a powerful statement. Paul knows better than anyone in the NBA how hard it is to make it to the NBA finals and how many grueling games it takes to make it to the top.
"Man, Chuck, I hate to cut you off, but I've been in the west my whole career," Paul said. "West ain't never been easy. I don't care who you're playing, what game it is, what series it is. I played in New Orleans, when I was in that division with Memphis, Houston with Yao and T-Mac, and Dallas when they was nice with Dirk and Stackhouse and all them. The West always been a beast, so if you try to matchup with someone else you can still get it handed to you. You just know that. You can't duck nobody if you wanna win it all. You gotta go through it."
Chris Paul, via NBA on TNT
Paul is aware there is no such thing as easy games or matchups in the playoffs. Every team in the playoffs deserves to be there, and all of them can present a danger. Unfortunately, Paul never made it to the NBA finals, and now hopefully, the Suns are that team that can make it there. Even though Paul is experienced, the rest of the squad is relatively young and doesn't have the same experience playing in the playoffs. Hopefully, this is the year for Chris Paul, and he can bring the best out of his teammates on their way to the NBA finals because the road to get there won't be easy.