Living up to his ‘Point God’ moniker, it marked the first time in playoff history that a player made 13 or more shots without a single miss.
Paul also made all four of his free throws to finish with 33 points, while also racking up eight assists and five rebounds.
However, the 12-time All-Star was lucky not to receive a flagrant foul in the fourth quarter for a brutal elbow to the chin of New Orleans guard Jose Alvarado. The incident was missed by the referees and, despite Alvarado’s protestations, the Pelicans were unable to call for a review after having already used their coach’s challenge.
Paul spent the first six years of his illustrious career in New Orleans after being drafted fourth by the franchise — then the Hornets — in 2005 and played his fifth season with current Pelicans head coach Willie Green.
“I’m emotional every game here [in New Orleans],” he told NBA on TNT. “Willie being my brother, somebody I talk to about everything, us not talking this whole series, seeing his son sitting on the baseline.
“It’s a good win for us, there’s a reason why he’s the coach here. There ain’t been this much energy here in a long time and I’m just glad we got the win. I always say this city raised me, man. It’s tough, this is emotional for me.
“I root for this team when I’m not playing against them, so to beat them was nice to get through the first round.”
On his return from a hamstring injury suffered in Game 2 of the series, Suns shooting guard Devin Booker put up 13 points, five rebounds and three assists, while center Deandre Ayton had a bright night with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
For the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram scored a team-high 21 to go along with 11 assists and five rebounds, with CJ McCollum and Jonas Valanciunas both adding 16.
Elsewhere, the Dallas Mavericks set up a Western Conference second round matchup against the Suns after closing out their series against the Utah Jazz with a 98-96 Game 6 win in Salt Lake City.
Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson both scored 24 points for the Mavericks, while Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points for the Jazz.
In the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers advanced to the conference semis with a comfortable 132-97 win over the Toronto Raptors.
Franchise star Joel Embiid continues to play through a torn ligament in his right thumb and notched 33 points and 10 assists, while sidekick James Harden added 22 points and 15 assists.
Quoted from Various Sources
Published for: The Bloggers Briefing