Booker, LeBron praise Chris Paul after impressive Game 1

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Chris Paul has been a bucket, man.”

Chris Paul’s reputation is more as a floor general than a scorer, but he has 73 points over his last two games — closing out the Clippers to win the West then beating the Bucks in Game 1 of the NBA Finals — which makes Devin Booker right, CP3 has been a bucket.

“He gets his team involved, he’s the greatest leader to play this game, but he’s always been a bucket,” Booker added.

Paul had 32 points and nine assists, being involved in 54 of Phoenix’s points.

“He prepared his whole life for this moment, and it shows out there on the court,” the Suns’ Mikal Bridges said. “Puts in a lot of hard work and sacrifice and takes care of his body. You know he really wants to be here. So just happy to see him go out there, but this is what we — CP3, man. We know he can do this every game. Happy he did it in Game 1 and helped us get this win. We’re going to need him for the next one.”

Support for Paul even came from his good friend LeBron James.

“When it’s going like that, you just want to space the floor well and let him orchestrate,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. ” I thought he was making the right plays… But he was making shots and when he’s in that mode, we just feed off of that.”

There was also praise coming from the other locker room.

“He’s a good player,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Their pick-and-roll game is tough to guard… We have to keep looking at the film and see how we can maybe take away some of the rhythm, or make it where he’s not getting into his spots as easily.”

A couple of years ago, Paul was battling injuries and he couldn’t help get the Lob City Clippers over the hump and into the conference finals, some thought Paul was washed up.

“If I hear things like that, which I did, I take it as complete nonsense,” Booker said. “If he doesn’t play another game for us, you could still pay him his contract. He’s that big for us.”

That contract is about to get even bigger. Paul is expected to decline his $44.2 million player option for next season to sign a new contract (very likely with Phoenix), probably in the three-years, $100 million range. That’s more money and more security — and he gets to stay with a contender in Phoenix.