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Sports News:
Chris Paul leads Suns past Clippers 130-103, into NBA Finals

LOS ANGELES — Chris Paul led the Phoenix Suns into their first NBA Finals in 28 years, beating the Los Angeles Clippers 130-103 on Wednesday night time to shut out the Western Conference finals in six video games.

Paul scored 41 factors and Devin Booker added 22 to ship the Suns to their third finals look in franchise historical past. They will face both the Atlanta Hawks or Milwaukee Bucks, who’re tied 2-2 within the East finals.

Paul reached the NBA Finals for the primary time in his 16-year profession on the identical Staples Center court docket the place he helped carry the Clippers to respectability over six seasons that led to 2017. The 36-year-old guard punished his outdated group by tying his playoff profession excessive of 41 – the identical quantity Paul George had in pushing the Clippers to a highway win in Game 5.

The Suns final made NBA Finals in 1993, once they have been led by Charles Barkley and misplaced to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six video games.

Their solely different finals look was in 1976, a loss to the Boston Celtics in six video games.

Things obtained chippy within the fourth. Going into a timeout with 5:48 remaining, Paul stared at Patrick Beverley as he walked by. Beverley circled and shoved Paul laborious within the again, sending him to the ground. Beverley was ejected.

Marcus Morris led the Clippers with 26 factors regardless of enjoying with a sore knee. George had 21 factors and 9 rebounds coming off his profession playoff excessive that staved off elimination on the highway and introduced his group again dwelling for an additional likelihood.

But the exhausted Clippers – who rallied from 0-2 sequence deficits in attending to the West finals for the primary time in franchise historical past – had little left within the tank. They have been once more with out two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who has been out with a proper knee spain, and heart Ivica Zubac. He missed his second straight recreation due to a MCL sprain in his proper knee.

Leonard moved from a set to the bench for the sport, his eyes staring from behind a black masks.

Paul dominated over the tip of the third and effectively into the fourth. He hit three 3-pointers within the last quarter, falling on his again and getting fouled on one among them.

The Suns stretched their result in 17 factors within the third, dulling the Staples Center crowd. Five completely different gamers scored, highlighted by Jae Crowder’s fifth 3-pointer and Booker‘s dunk. Crowder completed with 19 factors. Deandre Ayton added 16 factors and 17 rebounds.

The Clippers briefly re-energized themselves and the followers with a 10-0 run that drew them to 89-82. Morris and Nicolas Batum every hit 3-pointers.

But Paul closed on his personal 8-0 run, together with two 3-pointers, that despatched the Suns into the fourth main 97-83.

Booker ditched the clear plastic masks he’d worn to guard his damaged nostril within the final three video games. He obtained elbowed within the nostril defending George on the finish of the third, and performed with the masks on within the fourth. Moments later, DeMarcus Cousins earned a technical foul for elbowing Paul within the neck.

Phoenix led many of the first half, utilizing runs on the finish of every quarter to realize respiration room.

Tied 50-all, the Suns outscored the Clippers 16-7, propelled by Crowder’s 13 factors – together with three 3-pointers – to go into halftime main 66-57.

George had six factors within the half on 3 of 8 sho-oting, lacking all three of his 3-point makes an attempt.

TIP-INS

Suns: They have been 17 of 31 from 3-point vary and owned a 54-34 edge within the paint.

Clippers: George scored at the very least 20 factors in his first 19 video games to start the playoffs.

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