And that was the moment when Chris Paul took charge of this game – both figuratively and literally. Whenever his Phoenix Suns attacked, he would be given the ball for fear of the wrong players and what happens to every legend in basketball history, you know exactly what they will do, you have already seen often or experienced as an opponent – but you can not prevent it.
Here’s how it works: Paul, 36, waits for a teammate to block, he dribbles around him on the free-kick line and then makes a decision. He either throws himself or extends it to a colleague, under the basket or beyond the three-point line. It’s really as simple as it sounds, but Paul is very smart with decisions, very accurate with passes and shots. He took control of that game against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Suns scoring five points after his three assists in the final quarter – but then Paul returned it all: he lost three possession and an unsportsmanlike foul; The Pelicans withdrew, winning 118-103 and drawing 2-2 in the top seven of the series.
The entire basketball world is puzzled as to whether it is really possible for the title-crushing favorite to fail in the first round and for the red thread that has shaped Pauli’s career to expand: He is one of the best players in NBA history , but he does not win any titles – and rarely does. This time it’s an injury blocking Paul’s path to the Promised Land, with Devin Booker likely to miss the rest of the first round due to a fungal injury. It’s again something he can not control and you do not have to be a psychologist to understand what it does to someone who likes to be in control and take matters into his own hands.
After Chris Paul almost switched to the Lakers – but the NBA chief intervened
His career continued: The New Orleans Hornets (2005 – 11) were just too bad with him. This was followed by the failed transfer to the Los Angeles Lakers due to the veto by the then head of the NBA that the agreement between the clubs was unfair. In plain English: The Lakers would have been very good. It is as if FIFA would stop a transfer from Neymar to Bayern Munich because then his chances of winning the title would be very high.
Paul came to LA anyway, thanks to him the Clippers became a title contender, Paul was the conductor of a spectacle orchestra; Unforgettable is the moment in the locker room after a play-off game, when center DeAndre Jordan hit some free kicks. Paul yelled at Jordan for that statistic and told a lie that usually gets a bolt of lightning: “You’re the free throwing machine.” Shortly afterwards they were eliminated, quite badly, because Jordan was a de facto free-kick machine, and the correct question would be: Aren’t players like Jordan or Blake Griffin overrated? But the question was: is Paul too strict with these people who want to be petted?
In 2017 Paul came to the Houston Rockets: Participation in the semifinals, injury in the fifth game (was 2-2), elimination again. He joined the Suns through Oklahoma City in 2020, and despite Covid’s suspension during the play-offs, he led the team to the series of finals. Phoenix led 2-0 before Booker injured his thigh and then Paul’s ankle. Both played, but Phoenix lost 2-4; Paul became the first player in NBA history to lose four playoff series after leading 2-0. Yes, everything is so tragic now. Something always came out.
“I made peace with that. A few years ago, this question would have turned my stomach up while it was being done,” he said recently when asked to explain why he has not won a title in 17 years of professionalism – and the Door is now closing. slowly: “Of course I will work to win the title.”
It was often said that Paul did not have the right companions; if he had them, it was said he could not hold them because he was too punctual and waited too long. It was different with Booker because he wanted the mentor-prosthetic relationship – because Paul, because of his oversight, lets others shine as long as they have no other way of saying it: drop their backs . “We have to put this together somehow,” Paul said. He knows that a win against the Pelicans will bring back what could be the crucial part of the title puzzle (Booker). But he also knows he now has to take control of all the matches.