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‘GIF’ it: A visual rewind of the Suns winning the Western Conference title

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Can’t get enough of this, Phoenix fans? Here’s another way to rewatch Wednesday’s win

NBA: Playoffs-Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Suns fans, how exciting is this?

For the third time in franchise history and first instance since the 1992-93 season, the Suns advanced to the NBA Finals after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 130-103 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals on Wednesday night.

Phoenix was led by All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who tied a postseason career-high with 41 points on 16-of-24 shooting (7-of-8 from 3-point range) along with eight assists and four rebounds. Paul is making the first NBA Finals appearance of his 16-year career, which he said he was happy for individually and collectively for his teammates.

“They (the Suns) won two games in this series without me, and it just shows you how crazy it is,” Paul said. “First series, got the nerve (shoulder) thing. Win the second series, ended up with COVID(-19). It’s been a lot man, and I just — I want it not just for myself, but for everybody in that locker room.”

All of the Suns’ players will be making their first NBA Finals appearance with the exception of starting forward Jae Crowder, who played with the Miami Heat in the championship round last season. Wednesday’s victory was especially rewarding for the Suns’ core players in the last few seasons but perhaps none more than starting shooting guard Devin Booker, who endured a stretch in which Phoenix went 121-280 in the first five seasons of his career.

After the game, Booker and Paul were embraced by Suns coach Monty Williams, who said the celebration from his players was rewarding for him.

“To be able to win a game like that is huge for the organization, city, all of that stuff,” Williams said. “So that’s what I have on my heart right now, is just a lot of gratitude. I’m just so thankful God has given me the job I have, and I get to work with the people I work with.”

The Suns will play the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks in the NBA Finals. The championship series is scheduled to begin on Thursday, July 8 at 6 p.m. PT on ABC.

After last night’s win, here’s a rundown of how the game played out, courtesy of GIFs provided by our Bright Side of the Sun Twitter page and my personal account.

First Quarter

The Suns get off to a hot start from the field, shooting 14-of-22 (63.6 percent) overall and 5-of-7 from 3-point range and built a 33-29 lead. Starting center Deandre Ayton was called upon much more than Game 5, leading Phoenix with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and three rebounds. Booker had nine points on 4-of-7 shooting, and the Suns had their first 30-point quarter of the Western Conference Finals since the third period of Game 1.

11:50 1Q: Facing a zone defense from the Clippers, Phoenix immediately busts it with a backdoor lob to starting forward Mikal Bridges, who gets a terrific screen from Ayton and a nice pass from Paul.

9:42 1Q: Booker wasn’t settling on Wednesday night. He drives to the cup here and has a nice finish over Clippers forward and infamous former Sun Marcus Morris.

8:02, 5:20, 2:48 1Q: After he was not prioritized in Game 5, Ayton had multiple direct post-ups in the first quarter, including this hook over Morris and runner over starting forward Paul George.

And Paul loved it.

— 1:32 1Q: After recording no more than five points since Game 2, backup point guard Cameron Payne got off to a solid start in Game 6 with this deep 3-pointer.

Second Quarter

The Suns won this quarter, 33-28, while shooting 12-of-25 (48.0 percent) from the field and 4-of-7 (57.1 percent) from 3-point range. Crowder got hot, making 3-of-4 3-point attempts and led Phoenix with 13 points in the period. In comparison, Crowder shot 7-of-26 (26.9 percent) from 3-point range in previous games this series.

Here’s what Williams said after the Suns’ first quarter:

— 9:18 2Q: Can’t get enough of Payne? Neither could we. Here’s a crafty finish over the outstretched arms of George.

— 6:15 2Q: Crowder, despite a hot second quarter, had a hot-headed moment when he intentionally tripped Clippers forward Nicolas Batum. Crowder appeared to be upset after not receiving a foul call on one of his 3-point attempts.

— 5:26 2Q: Booker in attack mode? Booker in attack mode.

— 4:05 2Q: There were some controversial foul calls throughout the game, this being one of them.

Crowder had the Suns’ final 10 points of the first half over the last 3:16, and we were loving it.

— 1:17 2Q: Flagrant or no flagrant? That’s for you to decide, Suns fans.

Halftime:

— Here’s how we were reacting and some of you fans as the Suns built a 66-57 lead.

How about that ESPN broadcast, amirite?

Third Quarter:

This is where the Suns began to ran away. After their 17-point lead was cut to seven after a 10-0 run with 1:43 left in the period, Paul responded with an 8-0 run of his own. It only got worse for the Clippers from there.

— 11:08 3Q: Let’s be honest — this is where foul calls got really bad. Phoenix had three called on it in the first 52 seconds of the half, and they were very ticky-tacky.

Probably got a little too happy on the farm about Crowder.

— 8:59 3Q: They still couldn’t guard Ayton.

— 6:58 3Q: Booker wasn’t losing this game. No way. The Suns went up 13 after this dunk.

And then we saw a great moment of leadership.

— 4:01 3Q: Remember when backup forward Torrey Craig lost his rotation spot? Neither could we. He had a terrific sequence around this point, making a 3-pointer and then coming up with a steal here that led to a finish for Bridges.

But right after, here come the foul calls.

— 1:43 3Q: And when the Clippers capped off their 10-0 run, of course it came after a push-off from George.

— 1:15 3Q: This was not called a flagrant foul.

— 0:55 3Q: Paul and Clippers center Demarcus Cousins. This was hilarious.

— 0:02 3Q: This was pretty funny, too.

Fourth Quarter

Let the Paul takeover continue. He had 19 of his points in this quarter on 7-of-9 shooting. Think he was going to let his first NBA Finals appearance pass him by? No way. The Suns won the quarter, 33-20, and the celebration ensued.

— 10:30 4Q: This is just silly.

— 7:47 4Q: Come on now. Hand down, man down.

— 5:49 4Q: In the words of Crowder, this is when the Suns knew they broke the Clippers. Paul on this play: “It stings.”

Remember this?

Let’s get to the celebration now.

Postgame:

This is where all the fun happened.

Stay tuned for more, Bright Siders. This is just the beginning for this team.