Chris Paul is an all-time great. He’s a surefire Hall of Famer and the second greatest point guard of the greatest point guard era in history, trailing only Stephen Curry. This has to be said, because the slander is about to get really bad after Paul’s Phoenix Suns lost four straight Finals games to the Milwaukee Bucks, who became just the fifth team in history to come back from a 2-0 Finals deficit to win the title.
For Paul, it is the fourth time in his career that he’s lost a playoff series after going up 2-0, an NBA record. The only other player to have lost three 2-0 leads is Blake Griffin, who, of course, was Paul’s teammate with the Los Angeles Clippers — who, incidentally, became the first team in history to lose a series they led at some point in five consecutive postseasons.
You’ll notice it’s not just the blown 2-0 leads: Paul has now lost a total of seven playoff series in his career that his team led at some point. You see the 2015 meltdown against the Houston Rockets and the 2018 heartbreaker vs. the Golden State Warriors when Paul had to miss Games 6 and 7 with a ripped hamstring, and there was also 2017, when Paul’s Clippers were up 2-1 on the Utah Jazz before they lost Griffin for the rest of the series in Game 3 and were eventually eliminated in seven games.
Then there was Game 5 in a 2-2 series against the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015, when Paul, in a one-possession game, coughed up two turnovers inside the last 20 seconds en route to the Clippers blowing a seven-point lead inside the final minute. OKC won the game and the series.
Paul’s playoff history has been one of incredibly tough injury luck, almost to the point of cruelty, and it has led to one of the best players of his generation being dubbed some kind of playoff choker. This latest blown 2-0 lead to the Bucks is only going to add fuel to that annoying fire, even though Paul, who finished fifth in MVP voting at 36 years old, and the Suns, who made it to Game 6 of the Finals after not even making the playoffs last season, deserve nothing but respect and admiration for their run that just came up a bit short to a better team with a better player.