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Chris Paul Stars in First NBA Finals Appearance

Phoenix Suns Beat Milwaukee Bucks Game 1

The Phoenix Suns took Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals 118-105 on Tuesday night at the Phoenix Suns Arena.
Chris Paul had another monster game with 32 points, 9 assists, 3 rebounds, and 1 steal to lead the Suns.
Phoenix has opened as a 5.5 point betting favorite for Thursday’s Game 2.

Chris Paul was the star of Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals as the Phoenix Suns held court and defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 118-105 on Tuesday night at the Phoenix Suns Arena.

Paul waited 16 years to play in his first-ever NBA Finals game and for a while it looked like that even the most experienced player in the series had jitters.

CP3 was scoreless in the first quarter before scoring 11 in the second period and exploding for 16 in the third. He would finish the game with 32 points, 9 assists, 3 rebounds, and 1 steal while shooting 12-19 from the field, 4-6 from deep, 4-4 from the foul line with a 77.1% true shooting percentage.

☀️ @CP3 tallies 32 PTS, 9 AST in his Finals debut, guiding the @Suns to victory in Game 1! #ThatsGame #NBAFinals presented by YouTube TV Game 2: Thursday – 9:00pm/et, ABC pic.twitter.com/aXN1PS1Lwx

— NBA (@NBA) July 7, 2021

The Suns have opened as 5.5 point spread betting and -215 moneyline betting favorites at BetOnline for Thursday’s Game 2 which will also be played in Phoenix.

Elite Company

Elite company 👀

Chris Paul is the first player with 30 points and 8 assists in an #NBAFinals debut since Michael Jordan in 1991. pic.twitter.com/6gNKVNQvcd

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 7, 2021

Paul is the first player since Michael Jordan in 1991 to score at least 30 points and issue 8 assists in his first NBA Finals appearance. He is also the third player after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan to score at least 30 points in the NBA Finals at age 36 or older.

His 32 points matches Pascal Siakam for the second-highest scoring Finals debut since Kevin Durant in 2012. Paul is also the 2nd player in NBA history to have a 30/7 Finals game at the age of 36 and the first with a 30/7 game and three three-pointers made. It was also the 16th 30+ points game in CP3’s decorated playoff career.

CP3 scored or assisted in a total of 54 Phoenix Suns points in Game 1. That’s the third-most points scored and assisted by a player in his NBA Finals debut with only Allen Iverson (61) and Michael Jordan (60) putting up more. Paul has also scored 73 points in his last two games played. That’s the most points he’s scored over a two-game span in his entire career, regular season or playoffs.

1 Down, 3 To Go for CP3

1 down. 3 to go @CP3

— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 7, 2021

Not only did Paul get a win in his first-ever Finals game, CP3 is also just three games away from winning his first NBA title and joining banana boat brothers LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in the ranks of NBA champions. If you look back at Paul’s career three years ago, you’d never think he’s be in this position.

After a hamstring injury in Game 5 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals, Paul’s Houston Rockets blew a 3-2 series lead by losing Games 6 and 7 to the Golden State Warriors. In 2019, they lost to Golden State again in the second round and Paul averaged career lows at 15.6 points per game and 41.9% shooting percentage from the field. He was traded to the OKC Thunder the following year and that’s where the renaissance began.

CP3 earned his first All-Star nod since 2016 and led the rebuilding Thunder to the playoffs. This past offseason, OKC traded him to the Phoenix Suns and not only did he get a second-straight All-Star selection but also got two first place votes in the MVP balloting. The Suns finished with the second best record in the NBA, beat the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs, swept Denver in Round 2, and ousted the Clippers in six games in the Western Conference Finals. What’s next could be the crowning glory for basketball’s point god.