Chris Paul waited 16 years to get to the NBA Finals, bringing with him a team starving for its first championship.“Just knew he’s ready,” Phoenix forward Mikal Bridges said. “He’s prepared his whole life for this moment and it shows out there on the court.”
Paul had 32 points and nine assists in an NBA Finals debut that was well worth the wait, Devin Booker scored 27 points and the Suns beat the returning Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Milwaukee Bucks 118-105 on Tuesday night in Game 1.
Paul scored 16 points during a sensational third quarter that had Phoenix fans who waited 28 years to see the NBA Finals again screaming in delight.
“Every time he shoots it we think it’s going in,” Booker said.It almost did in the third quarter, when Paul was 6 for 7 and made all three 3-pointers.
Finally playing for the title in his 16th season, the star point guard has the Suns in the NBA Finals for only the third time, and it sure looked as if they could make this ending different than the other two.
“We’ve been building all season long for these moments,” Paul said. “We’re going to keep playing. This is just one game. We’ve got to stay locked in.”Deandre Ayton added 22 points and 19 rebounds to continue his breakout stretch of play in his first postseason.
Antetokounmpo had 20 points and 17 rebounds after missing two games with a hyperextended left knee. Khris Middleton scored 29 points, but the Bucks will have to play from behind again after dropping Game 1 for the third straight series.