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Chris Paul sends Phoenix Suns to NBA finals with 41-point masterclass, Clippers eliminated in Game 6

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Chris Paul

Paul exploded for 31 of his 41 points in the second half to lead the Phoenix Suns to the NBA finals for the first time since 1993.

The Phoenix Suns notched a 130-103 victory over the host Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night, with Paul shooting 7 of 8 from three-point range and 16 of 24 overall while helping slay his former organisation.

He also had eight assists and three steals as the Suns won the Western Conference finals in six games at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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Highlights of Game 6 in the Western Conference Finals between the LA Clippers and the Phoenix Suns.

Devin Booker scored 22 points, Jae Crowder added 19 and Deandre Ayton had 16 with 17 rebounds for the second-seeded Suns.

Paul's first trip to the Finals comes in his first season with his fifth team, an organisation that spent the entire past decade watching the postseason.

The new team proved to be the right fit for the 36-year-old guard.

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Phoenix Suns' Chris Paul drops 41 points in a close-out win over the LA Clippers for a trip to the NBA Finals.

"From Day One, they welcomed me with open arms," Paul said. "We still got a lot of work to do, but we're going to enjoy this -- 16 years, surgeries, hard work, losses, bad losses, but we're going to enjoy tonight."

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When the Clippers pulled within seven points late in the third quarter, Paul took over and personally delivered the knockout punch to the Los Angeles season.

"He's just a great player, a great leader and he serves his team-mates," Suns coach Monty Williams said. "We saw that tonight. He was dead tired and he was still able to make play after play after play. That's his will. I'm just happy to watch him in this moment."

Phoenix Suns

Points Rebounds Assists
Jae Crowder 19 5 1
Mikal Bridges 9 1 4
Deandre Ayton 16 17 1
Devin Booker 22 7 4
Chris Paul 41 4 8

Marcus Morris Sr. registered 26 points and nine rebounds and Paul George added 21 points for the fourth-seeded Clippers. Patrick Beverley was ejected with 5:49 remaining when he came up behind Paul and shoved him to the court.

"I'm proud of what we did as a team," said George, who topped 20 points in every game in the series. "I wasn't out to prove anything to anybody, just to be a leader for this team."

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard (knee) missed his eighth straight game and teammate Ivica Zubac (knee) sat out his second in a row.

Los Angeles Clippers

Points Rebounds Assists
Paul George 21 9 2
Terance Mann 5 3 0
Marcus Morris 26 9 1
Reggie Jackson 13 4 8
Patrick Beverley 11 1 3

Cameron Johnson (non-COVID illness) was side-lined for Phoenix, which made 17 of 31 three-point attempts (54.8 percent) and shot 56.4 percent overall.

Phoenix will face either the Atlanta Hawks or the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals, with those teams are tied 2-2 in the Eastern Conference finals.

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Greg Anthony and Jason Terry congratulate Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns after defeating the LA Clippers to advance to the 2021 NBA Finals.

The Suns previously reached the Finals twice, falling to the Boston Celtics in 1976 and to the Chicago Bulls in 1993. Both series went six games.

Phoenix hadn't even played in a playoff game since 2010 prior to this season's run, which has included series victories against the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and the Clippers.

"I thought we ran out of gas," Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. "We made a lot of mistakes mentally. That tells you guys are tired."

Los Angeles trailed by six early in the third quarter before Phoenix scored 21 of the next 31 points to take an 89-72 lead on Mikal Bridges' fast-break basket with 4:01 left in the period.

The Clippers responded with 10 straight points, capped by 3-pointers from Morris and Nicolas Batum, to move within seven with 1:43 remaining.

Paul followed by scoring eight straight points to get the Suns' lead to 15 before Phoenix took a 97-83 lead into the final stanza.

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Chris Paul says the Phoenix Suns were on a 'don't lose mission' after they beat the LA Clippers in Game 6 to make it to the NBA Finals.

Paul continued his torrid play with three straight baskets early in the fourth -- he scored 19 in the stanza -- to push the Phoenix advantage to 105-85 with 9:39 to play. When the Clippers crept within 15, Paul converted a four-point play to make it 111-92 with 7:42 left.

Ayton followed with a driving shot before Paul added a basket and a straightaway 3-pointer to make it a 26-point margin with 5:49 left. Paul then hit the technical stemming from Beverley's ejection to make it 119-92, and Phoenix closed out the convincing victory.

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Chris Paul produced the play of the night for the Phoenix Suns against the LA Clippers in Game 6 of Western Conference Finals.

Reggie Jackson scored 13 points, DeMarcus Cousins added 12 and Beverley scored 11 for Los Angeles, which shot 41.8 percent from the field and made 12 of 39 (30.8 percent) from behind the arc.

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