There’s a reason Chris Paul is known as “The Point God.”
In the Suns’ 123-98 victory over the Nuggets on Wednesday night, Paul put together a performance that most NBA point guards can only dream about. He totaled 17 points, 15 assists and five rebounds in 31 minutes. Making his showing even more impressive, the 11-time All-Star didn’t commit a single turnover.
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“Just reading the game, man, just finding open guys, picking my spots,” Paul told TNT’s Chris Haynes after Phoenix’s Game 2 win, which gave the Suns a 2-0 series lead. “We’ve got an unbelievable team.”
The Suns had six players reach double figures, and 12 players scored at least two points. Phoenix also stifled Denver’s offensive attack, limiting the Nuggets to 40 percent shooting from the field.
While it was certainly a group effort, Paul’s stat line stood out not just within this single box score, but also in the broader picture of playoff history.
15 and 0
Paul registered his third career playoff game with 15 or more assists and zero turnovers, the most such games in the 16-team era, per Stathead.
He is also the first player with 15 points, 15 assists and zero turnovers in a playoff game since, of course, Chris Paul. He has now hit those numbers with three different teams (Hornets in 2008, Clippers in 2014, Suns in 2021).
.@NBA playoff games with 15+ points, 15+ assists and 0 turnovers since 1984:
Chris Paul, 3
Magic Johnson, 1
Jason Kidd, 1
Everyone else combined, 0
(H/t Stathead) https://t.co/f8nj5JEGNw
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 10, 2021
15, 15 and 5
With CP3 still playing at an elite level, it’s easy to forget the guy turned 36 years old last month.
Only three players age 35 or older have posted at least 15 points, 15 assists and five rebounds in a postseason game, per the Elias Sports Bureau: Paul, LeBron James and John Stockton. Pretty good company.
|May 5, 2000||Stockton||17||15||7|
|Aug. 18, 2020||James||23||16||17|
|June 9, 2021||Paul||17||15||5|
By dishing out 15 assists Wednesday, Paul pushed his playoff total to 974. That moved him ahead of Lakers legend Jerry West for 14th on the all-time playoff assists list.
Paul could jump past Isiah Thomas (987) in Game 3, and if the Suns make a deep run, he could end up in the top 10 by the end of the postseason.
In Phoenix’s first-round series against Los Angeles, Paul shot uncharacteristically poorly, largely because he was dealing with a shoulder injury he suffered in the Suns’ playoff opener. His field goal percentage dipped below 40 percent, and he drained just two of his 10 3-point attempts over six games.
Now with that shoulder at around 90 percent, according to Haynes, Paul looks much more like himself. After going 6 of 10 in Game 2, Paul is shooting 58.3 percent from the field in the Western Conference semifinals, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc.
That’s a promising sign for a Phoenix squad that is peaking at the perfect time.