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'This city raised me' Chris Paul's emotional message to New Orleans after Pelicans loss

"It's tough man. "It's emotional. This is home for me. I root for this team when I'm not playing against them," Paul said.

NEW ORLEANS — It was an emotional night for Chris Paul.

Paul was 14 for 14 - the most field goals without a miss in an NBA playoff game ever - in the Phoenix Suns' 115-109, series ending victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night.

“I had no clue,” said Paul, the former Pelican who finished with 33 points and eight assists. “I think maybe at halftime I said I might have to shoot a little more. But throughout the game, I was literally managing the game. I wasn’t taking heat checks. I don’t shoot enough to have heat checks.”

But even in victory, Paul's mind was on the City of New Orleans. Immediately after the game, Paul had an emotional embrace with Pelicans coach Willie Green, one of his closest friends and former teammates, then gave a post game interview with TNT.

"You have no clue how emotional every game here's been," Paul said. "Willie, being my brother, somebody I talk to about everything, us not talking this whole series, seeing his son sitting on the baseline."

"There ain't been been this much energy here in a long time," he added.

When asked about his perfect night, Paul again turned his focus to New Orleans.

"I always say this city raised me," he said.

Paul was drafted by the New Orleans Hornets as the fourth overall pick in the 2005. He played in New Orleans until he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011.

"It's tough man. "It's emotional. This is home for me. I root for this team when I'm not playing against them," Paul said. "To beat them, it was nice to get to the first round."

Paul has accomplished so many things in his 17 NBA seasons that it’s nearly impossible to rank his Mount Rushmore moments. Short of a title, perfection, however, might be hard to beat. Suns coach Monty Williams said it was difficult to rank Paul’s achievements as a scorer, leader and game manager.

“I can’t even say because he’s done it so many times,” Williams said. “This is probably No. 1 because it just happened, and I knew how special New Orleans is to him. He cares deeply about the city and the fans and the children. It’s probably No. 1 because it just happened.”

Credit: AP
New Orleans Pelicans head coach Willie Green cries as he hugs Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul after Game 6 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 28, 2022 in New Orleans. The Suns won 115-109, to win the series 4-2 and advance to the second-round. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Williams also has his own New Orleans connection - serving as the coach for the Hornets/Pelicans for five seasons starting in 2010, the same year Green was traded to the team.

Green said he didn’t have to be told about how special Paul’s 14-of-14 night was.

“Don’t remind me of that right now,” he said, smiling. “I’m proud we stood the test. I couldn’t ask for any better effort.”

    

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.