Chris Paul was in red-hot form for the Phoenix Suns when he played his first NBA Final against Milwaukee Bucks.
After downing the Bucks 118-105 in Game 1, the Suns are merely three wins away from donning a championship title.
The contest was moving towards a nail-biting thriller until the Suns went ballistics in the third quarter where they propelled the lead as high as 20.
Mike Budenholzer’s men came back strongly in the fourth quarter but the damage had been done by then. It was mainly Paul, whose staggering 32 points were just too much for the Bucks to overcome.
Suns coach Monty Williams also seemed amused to see Pauls stand tall on the big night.
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“When it’s going like that, you just want to space the floor well and let him orchestrate. I thought he was making the right plays,” Williams remarked. “They were switching a ton, and we have to offer that space and play faster if he gets off of the ball. But he was making shots and when he’s in that mode, we just feed off of that.”
Suns guard Devin Booker was also quick to acknowledge Paul’s great contribution to the big win.
“His affect is that big, you know what I’m saying? So he moves this team, he leads this team daily. Just having him in the locker room, I’m not even talking about anything he does on the court, he takes the team to that next level,” Booker said.
Booker himself was another star performer for the Suns, who ran riot with his 27 crucial points in Game 1. Deandre Ayton was subliminal too, notching 22 points for the Suns.
Speaking in a post-game interview, Suns forward Mikal Bridges said: “It just opens up everything. Just for other guys out there, we’re spacing and stuff. It opens it up for us to get opportunities. If they start helping toward Book and CP, and then we get shots.”
Bucks’ Khris Middleton was furious with the way his team wasted the free throws.
“The most disappointing part is the free throws. Shot way more free throws than us. We have to do a better job of attacking and driving the rim as they did,” Middleton said.
Middleton’s teammate Jrue Holiday believes that the loss had something to do with the attitude and character both sides showed in Game 1. “I think it’s character. It’s going through things during the season for us to get to this point and make adjustments,” Holiday said.
“I also think it’s playing against different teams in the playoffs. Miami was different from Brooklyn and Brooklyn was different from Atlanta. We have a lot of references to go back to.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo looked decent on his return, but he lacked the support from other teammates.
He did not look 100% fit but ended up with a 20 points and 17 rebounds Tuesday. The Greek Freak was ruled out for two games after suffering a hyperextension in his left knee during Game 4 against Atlanta in the conference finals.