Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: Chris Paul punches ticket to first NBA Finals, helps Suns eliminate Clippers with late-game takeover

The Phoenix Suns are back in the NBA Finals, only their third appearance in franchise history and first since 1993.

Behind a dominant second half, where the Suns outscored the Clippers 64-46, they clinched a 130-103 win in Game 6. Chris Paul led all scorers with 41 points, 31 of which came in the second half, while also recording eight assists and three steals.

CP3 received plenty of help as the trio of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder combined for 57 points. For the Clippers, Marcus Morris Sr. was the top scorer with 26 but his incredible shooting game was in vain.

Here's a quick look at the biggest takeaways from this one.

Booker and Ayton carry Suns early

There was no slow start today as the Suns seemed adamant to play from the front.

They raced to a 7-2 start and shot it efficiently for the rest of the period - 14-of-22 from the field and 5-of-7 from beyond the arc.

The trio of Ayton (10), Booker (9) and Chris Paul (6) combined for 25 of the team's 33 first-quarter points. They would have held a strong seven-point lead after the first 12 minutes if it wasn't for a DeMarcus Cousins buzzer-beater.

Clippers never let it get away in 1st half

Phoenix carried its momentum early into the second quarter and extended the lead to 10, the largest in the first half, but the Clippers didn't let it get away from them.

Led by Marcus Morris' 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, the Clippers had four players in double-figures at the half. LA came back from 10 down to tie things up.

Suns eventually led at intermission by seven (66-59) and that was a result of the Clippers not letting the game get away from them.

Chris Paul sparks game-changing run

Given his lofty standards, Paul had sub-par performances in Games 3, 4 and 5, but Game 6 was different.

In the possible clincher, down the stretch, he took over. Late in the third quarter, the Suns' deficit was down to seven (89-82). From that point on, Paul scored 27 of the team's last 35 points as he personally outscored the Clippers 27-18.

What's next?

The Suns wrap things up and advance to their third-ever NBA Finals, awaiting the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks.

For the Clippers, their historic postseason run, when they went to their first Conference Finals ever, comes to an end.

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