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Chris Paul enters Point God mode, leads Suns over Pelicans in Game 1

The Suns took eight shots in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter.

Chris Paul made six of those shots. He assisted another, a dunk. As for the remaining shot, a miss by a teammate… Paul – ever the perfectionist – will surely find a lesson to apply in Game 2 Tuesday.

Paul carved up the Pelicans late, leading Phoenix to a 110-99 win in Game 1 of their first-round series Sunday.

Perhaps the biggest compliment to the Pelicans: They played well enough to force Paul, who prefers to set up teammates, to take matters into his own hands. Paul – who finished with 30 points and 10 assists – took over only after New Orleans cut its 23-point deficit to a seven-point margin in the third quarter.

The Pelicans are an incredibly pesky 36-46 team. But they’re still a 36-46 team facing a juggernaut.

Not only did Paul excel, Deandre Ayton (21 points on 10-of-15 shooting with nine rebounds and four blocks) often dictated terms inside. Devin Booker (25 points on 8-of-19 shooting with eight assists) added plenty of offensive punch.

New Orleans couldn’t near that steady production from its top scorers against the Suns’ elite defense. C.J. McCollum (25 points on 9-of-25 shooting), Brandon Ingram (18 points on 6-of-17 shooting) and Jonas Valanciunas (18 points on 7-of-21 shooting) had more volume than efficiency.

But the Pelicans showed resiliency – enough to induce a special Chris Paul performance.