After waiting 16 years to appear in the NBA Finals, Chris Paul made his debut count.
The 36-year-old continued his excellent season in Game 1 of the best-of-seven playoff series to decide who will be crowned NBA champions, scoring 32 points and dishing out nine assists as the Phoenix Suns beat the Milwaukee Bucks 118-105 on Tuesday night.
In doing so, Paul became only the third player aged 36 or older to have more than 30 points in a Finals game, joining Hall-of-Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan.
He also became the first player since NBA legend Michael Jordan with over 30 points and 8 assists in their Finals debut.
Combined with the red-hot shooting of young superstar Devin Booker — who scored 27 points — and the continued breakout dominance of 22-year-old Deandre Ayton, Paul and the Suns took one step towards lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Paul’s big third quarter was a vital part in the Suns pulling away from the Bucks in the second half, as the 11-time All-Star scored 16 points in the quarter to assert his will on the game.