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Chris Paul’s Game 2 masterpiece in four stats: Suns star carves up Nuggets in blowout win

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Chris Paul's Game 2 masterpiece in four stats: Suns star carves up Nuggets in blowout win

There’s a reason Chris Paul is known as “The Point God.”

In the Suns’ 123-98 victory over the Nuggets on Wednesday night, Paul put together a performance that most NBA point guards can only dream about. He totaled 17 points, 15 assists and five rebounds in 31 minutes. Making his showing even more impressive, the 11-time All-Star didn’t commit a single turnover.

MORE: Why Charles Barkley is rooting against Nets during NBA playoffs

“Just reading the game, man, just finding open guys, picking my spots,” Paul told TNT’s Chris Haynes after Phoenix’s Game 2 win, which gave the Suns a 2-0 series lead. “We’ve got an unbelievable team.”

The Suns had six players reach double figures, and 12 players scored at least two points. Phoenix also stifled Denver’s offensive attack, limiting the Nuggets to 40 percent shooting from the field.

While it was certainly a group effort, Paul’s stat line stood out not just within this single box score, but also in the broader picture of playoff history.

15 and 0

Paul registered his third career playoff game with 15 or more assists and zero turnovers, the most such games in the 16-team era, per Stathead

He is also the first player with 15 points, 15 assists and zero turnovers in a playoff game since, of course, Chris Paul. He has now hit those numbers with three different teams (Hornets in 2008, Clippers in 2014, Suns in 2021).

15, 15 and 5

With CP3 still playing at an elite level, it’s easy to forget the guy turned 36 years old last month.

Only three players age 35 or older have posted at least 15 points, 15 assists and five rebounds in a postseason game, per the Elias Sports Bureau: Paul, LeBron James and John Stockton. Pretty good company.

Date Player Points Assists Rebounds
May 5, 2000 Stockton 17 15 7
Aug. 18, 2020 James 23 16 17
June 9, 2021 Paul 17 15 5

974

By dishing out 15 assists Wednesday, Paul pushed his playoff total to 974. That moved him ahead of Lakers legend Jerry West for 14th on the all-time playoff assists list.

Paul could jump past Isiah Thomas (987) in Game 3, and if the Suns make a deep run, he could end up in the top 10 by the end of the postseason.

58.3

In Phoenix’s first-round series against Los Angeles, Paul shot uncharacteristically poorly, largely because he was dealing with a shoulder injury he suffered in the Suns’ playoff opener. His field goal percentage dipped below 40 percent, and he drained just two of his 10 3-point attempts over six games.

Now with that shoulder at around 90 percent, according to Haynes, Paul looks much more like himself. After going 6 of 10 in Game 2, Paul is shooting 58.3 percent from the field in the Western Conference semifinals, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc.

That’s a promising sign for a Phoenix squad that is peaking at the perfect time.

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Padres’ Manny Machado wore the perfect Father’s Day footwear

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Padres' Manny Machado wore the perfect Father's Day footwear

Manny Machado’s got heat on feet. Kind of.

While ostentatious, loud and colorful cleats are all the rage in baseball, the Padres’ star third baseman dialed it down on Father’s Day. Like, a lot down.

Machado took the field wearing a pair of Nike Air Monarch cleats — the preeminent, iconic dad shoe — during San Diego’s Dad Day matchup vs. the Reds.

The Monarchs have fostered a reputation for being an unforgettable dad-worn sneaker, making Machado’s footwear a tremendous salute to fathers (and grillmasters) around the country.

What makes the cleats even better is that they are in the classic white, silver and navy blue colorway, which is the only way to wear those bad boys. While these are Jordan Brand player-exclusive cleats, they’re dad-exclusive away from the field.

MORE: Joey Votto makes young fan’s day in San Diego

Machado has worn all different makes of cleats throughout his career, usually flashy and gaudy types. The All-Star infielder has worn Jordan 11s, 12s, 4s and a bunch of others on the field.

Still, lacing up a pair of Grillmaster 5s on Father’s Day earned him plenty of praise from fans who understood the tribute:

You’ll probably be able to catch Machado after the game at a BBQ near you, likely cracking some bad puns and calling everyone “big guy.”

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Nets’ Kevin Durant joining Team USA for Tokyo Olympics after Game 7 loss vs. Bucks, report says

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Nets' Kevin Durant joining Team USA for Tokyo Olympics after Game 7 loss vs. Bucks, report says

Kevin Durant isn’t going to be taking much time off this summer.

In fact, he appears to be ready for more action despite playing all 53 minutes of the Nets’ Game 7 overtime loss to the Bucks and scoring a game-high 48 points. And he’s joining another super team that has title hopes.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Durant is expected to commit to Team USA ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

Durant would become the sixth player to commit to Team USA, joining another player with Olympic experience, Draymond Green, and four first-time Olympians: Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal and Devin Booker.

MORE: Kevin Durant blames ‘big-ass foot’ for loss to the Suns

Durant competed in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. He averaged 19.5 points at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro and 19.4 points at the 2012 London Olympics.

In addition, Durant shot 54.6 percent from the shorter-range international 3-point line at the two tournaments and has compiled a 39-0 record in international play.

Team USA can now turn its attention to its remaining question marks with Durant’s commitment reportedly secured. Anthony Davis and LeBron James won’t be participating in this year’s Olympics, but Stephen Curry was “50-50” about competing in the event.

Either way, Team USA should be considered the top threat at the 2021 Summer Games with Durant in the fold.

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Yankees secure win vs. Athletics with another triple play, tie MLB record

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Yankees secure win vs. Athletics with another triple play, tie MLB record

If a double play is a pitcher’s best friend, then what’s a triple play?

The Yankees had already turned two triple plays this season before Sunday, including one that has literally never been seen before in MLB history. Then they pulled off one more, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

With the Yankees teetering on the brink of danger in the ninth inning, closer Aroldis Chapman got A’s catcher Sean Murphy to ground to third baseman Gio Urshela, who stepped on the bag and relayed to DJ LeMahieu, who then threw to Chris Gittens for the 5-4-3 game-ender.

It was a record-tying play by the Yankees: The high-water mark for triple plays turned in a season is three, with the feat most recently accomplished by the White Sox in 2016.

The Yankees’ second triple play of the year — a 1-3-6-2-5-6 triple killing vs. the Blue Jays on June 17 — had never accomplished in baseball history:

The around-the-horn game-ending triple play on Father’s Day secured a 2-1 victory over Oakland and gave New York the series win over a hot A’s team. New York moves to 38-33 and continues to right the ship in an up-and-down season.

But, hey, that’s a pretty cool gift for dads everywhere.

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