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Suns’ Chris Paul, Monty Williams embrace after earning WCF spot

Head coach Monte Williams of the Phoenix Suns hugs Chris Paul #3 after action against the Denver Nuggets in Game Four of the Western Conference second-round playoff series at Ball Arena on June 13, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul and head coach Monty Williams have been around the league a long time, both chasing a dream of playing on the sport’s grandest stage.

The two are trying to make that dream a reality with the Phoenix Suns, a franchise that prior to this season had been stuck in a decade-long playoff drought.

Phoenix completed a sweep of the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, advancing the team to the Western Conference Finals.

Paul and Wiliams shared a hug after the game, a moment of joy for both on a long journey.

“Chris has meant so much to my career, so much to my life,” Williams said after the game.

It marks the second time the two have been together playing in the summer for a trophy.

“To be on this journey with him and to see it paying off is nice,” Paul said, adding the two are a lot alike and stay locked in until the buzzer sounds.

“When the series is over and the game is over, it’s nice to share those moments.”

Paul was a focal point on the New Orleans Hornets when Williams was hired prior to the 2010-11 season, becoming the youngest head coach in the NBA at 38 years old.

The team made the playoffs but lost in the First Round.

Paul left after that season to join the Los Angeles Clippers and later the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder, picking up a number of playoff appearances along the way but never getting to that ultimate goal.

Even though both spent a decade in different locker rooms, the two didn’t lose their bond, with Paul being there for Williams when his wife died in a car crash in 2016.

“The darkest moment of my life, Chris was right there,” Williams said.

The moment was emotional for Paul, considering what Williams had been through since the last time they shared a court.

“Mont has been through things in his life that a lot of people don’t necessarily come back from,” Paul said. “Basketball aside, he means so much to me and my family.”

On Sunday, Paul was there for his coach on the floor, leading all Suns in scoring with 37 points to get both closer to their goal of an NBA Championship.

“One of the highlights of my career, he’s right there,” Williams said.

“I’m grateful to God for him and all of our guys.”

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