MILWAUKEE – The closest Chris Paul has come to the coveted championship that has escaped him throughout his 16-year career ended up leaving him feeling a long way from that first title. The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday, as the Suns became the fifth team in Finals history to lose after starting the series with a 2 lead. -0.
“It will take a while to process this, but it’s the same mindset,” Paul said after the Bucks’ decisive 105-98 victory. “Go back to work. I’m not going to retire, if that’s what you’re asking. That’s out of the question. Then go back to work.”
The 36-year-old Paul finished with 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting and five assists in Game 6, which kept the Suns at a relative distance from Milwaukee (they were behind by just four points with 1:14 to play), but it wasn’t enough to force a Game 7 back at Phoenix.
“Right now, you’re just trying to figure out what could have done more,” Paul said. “It’s tough. Big group of guys, amazing season, but this [derrota] it’s going to hurt for a while. “
Paul has a $ 44.2 million player option for next season, and while many contenders in the league could use a point guard of his type to make a push next season, Paul didn’t sound like someone looking to leave a team packed with young talent like Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton who led him to two promised land victories so quickly.
“Everyone in that locker room knows we had enough, but it wasn’t enough,” Paul said. “So we have to figure it out. I look at myself and try to figure out how I can improve, what I could have done more and make sure I come back next season ready to do it again.”
With the loss, Paul became the first player in league history to lose four playoff series in which his team had a 2-0 lead. But his coach, Monty Williams, rebuffed any criticism leveled at his point guard after the Finals shared disappointment.
“It’s ridiculous when you talk about guys like Chris who have had unreal careers and yet get penalized because they haven’t won a title,” Williams said. “That was my goal, to win it for him and for Book; they have loaded us all year. And Chris, this is the second time I train him; I know what he puts in his craft, I know the dedication. And so when I hear those Feelings about his career because he hasn’t won a championship, it’s silly. It’s hard enough getting to the NBA, let alone being an all-time great, which is what it is. “
Summing up the group’s sentiment, it wasn’t all bad news for the team that toppled defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, swept league MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets, knocked out the LA Clippers and gave the Bucks everything they wanted. They could manage with a title on the line.
“Even though we lost,” Ayton said as he left the interview room, “it was fun.”