CP3's Game 1 performance shows his value to Suns

Published June 9, 2021, 1:30 PMRenee Ticzon

The series-opening victory over the Nuggets was proof of how important Chris Paul is to the Suns.

The Phoenix Suns took Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals after a 122-105 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.

One of the main reasons why the Suns were able to draw first blood was because of Chris Paul’s dominance and incredible IQ. At 36 years old, Paul is one of the greatest point guards in the league, and his ability to facilitate and run a team’s offense is like no other.

Paul has always been a pass-first player, someone whose goal is to get everyone involved. This is crucial for a young team like the Suns. 

Because CP3 is a master at creating opportunities, which was evident right off the bat in Game 1. In the opening quarter of their first semifinals game, Paul quickly dished out four assists. He was actively looking for Jae Crowder and Deandre Ayton to make sure they got going early on. 

In the series against the Los Angeles Lakers, the two played extremely well for the Suns — Crowder averaged 11.5 points and 4.7 rebounds, while Ayton averaged 15.8 and 10.7. Being the experienced guard he is, CP3 knows that getting other guys involved is essential for their team’s success.

The Nuggets led 58-56 at the end of the first half, but Paul had already five points and seven assists. After the break, Denver started to get streaky. They extended the gap to nine points, but the Suns regained control and ended the third quarter with an 88-79 lead. 

Then came the final period, Paul knew he had to step up and help his star teammate Devin Booker to close out the game. He knew it was time for him to score -- and he did exactly that.

CP3 took over in the final period, going 6-of-6 from the field, which helped push the lead up to 20 in the last few minutes. He scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth and had three assists, bringing his total to 11, as the Suns won Game 1.

His performance was not flashy nor explosive, but it was a well-calculated plot. Phoenix got the win, and Paul ticked all the boxes. He successfully got everyone involved as four starters finished with 20+ points. He was able to score when they needed him the most. And he was able to lead his young team to the series-opening victory.

CP3’s game has a perfect balance of letting his team play and getting buckets when they need him to. After 15 seasons in the NBA, Paul knows well enough how to complement the players he is surrounded with, stretching his career by playing sustainable basketball.

It takes a lot of trust to get to this point. CP3 and the Suns have built a symbiotic relationship — he relies on them the same way the Suns rely on him. The Point God has not only helped build a legitimate contender this year, but he also made every single player in the roster better.