Capping off the Day 2 action was the top-seeded Phoenix Suns hosting the No. 8 New Orleans Pelicans. On paper, the Suns were a heavy favorite but, as we have seen this weekend, anything can happen in the playoffs and the Pelicans knocked off two teams this past week to earn this opportunity. New Orleans made their run to make this game interesting in the second half, cutting the deficit to six points, but Chris Paul and the Suns were not going to drop Game 1 as the defending Western Conference champs clamped down and came away with a 110-99 win.

Earlier, the Miami Heat made easy work of the Atlanta Hawks, 115-91 to take a 1-0 series lead. Next, the Celtics defeated the Nets, 115-114, thanks to Jayson Tatum’s incredible buzzer-beating layup. In the third game of the day, the Bucks and Bulls played a thriller that ended in a 93-86 win for Milwaukee.

NBA playoffs schedule, scores

  • Miami Heat 115, Atlanta Hawks 91
  • Boston Celtics 115, Brooklyn Nets 114
  • Milwaukee Bucks 93, Chicago Bulls 86 
  • Phoenix Suns 110, New Orleans Pelicans 99

Here are three key takeaways from what turned out to be quite the final game of the opening weekend of the playoffs.

1. Kneel before the Point God

As we age, we tend to scale back our professional responsibilities. In a perfect world, we’ve found enough success by our golden years to hire the right young people to carry the load so that we can step in only when it is necessary. That’s the stage Chris Paul’s career is in right now. He’s cultivated such a deep pool of youngsters into such a finely tuned machine that he can pace himself through most of a game, but when he needs to turn it on, he’s got more than enough gas in the tank to do so.

That’s what happened in this game. The Suns led most of the way due to their stellar defense. His teammates did most of the scoring. But when New Orleans cut the deficit to six in the fourth quarter, Paul turned back into the point god. Behold, this sequence of consecutive fourth-quarter possessions.

With the Suns up seven, we got the following:

  • Chris Paul 3.
  • Chris Paul assist.
  • Chris Paul 3.
  • Chris Paul 3.
  • Chris Paul layup.
  • Chris Paul jumper.

That pushed the lead back up to 14. Game over. This is, in essence, what has made the Suns so special this season. In the first three quarters, their net ratings rank sixth, seventh and third, respectively. In the fourth? It jumps up to first by a country mile. They played 130 clutch minutes this season and won them by a total of 107 points. When Chris Paul kicks things into overdrive, the Suns go from great to historic.

Courtesy: CBS Sports


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