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Chris Paul scores 41 to lead Suns past Clippers and into NBA Finals

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LOS ANGELES — Tears welled in Chris Paul’s eyes. A message in black ink on his shoes said it all: Can’t give up now.

Not when, after 16 years, he will finally play for an NBA title.

Paul led the Phoenix Suns into their first NBA Finals in 28 years, beating the Los Angeles Clippers 130-103 on Wednesday night to close out the Western Conference finals in six games.

“I was on a don’t-lose mission,” Paul said. “Just a lot of emotion. A lot of (things) going on.”

Paul scored 41 points and Devin Booker added 22 to send the Suns to their third finals appearance in franchise history. They will face either the Atlanta Hawks or Milwaukee Bucks, who are tied 2-2 in the East finals.

“He was tired,” Suns coach Monty Williams said of Paul. “He was still making those kind of plays, getting to the basket, 3s, orchestrating everything.

“He has persevered through a lot — injuries, playoff heartbreak.”

Paul missed the first two games against the Clippers after testing positive for the coronavirus. He injured his shoulder in the first round against the Lakers. Add in numerous surgeries and making the conference finals one other time, only to fall short.

Chris Paul, holding the Western Conference Finals trophy after the Suns' 130-103 win over the Clippers, is headed to his first NBA Finals.
Chris Paul, holding the Western Conference Finals trophy after the Suns’ 130-103 win over the Clippers, is headed to his first NBA Finals.
NBAE via Getty Images

“It’s been a lot, I’m telling you,” he said.

Paul reached the NBA Finals for the first time on the same Staples Center court where he helped bring the Clippers to respectability over six seasons that ended in 2017 without ever getting past the second round. The 36-year-old guard punished his old team with 31 points in the second half and tied his playoff career high of 41 — the same amount Paul George had in pushing the Clippers to a road win in Game 5.

“I’m just so happy for all the people around me,” Paul said on the court after the game, “and the Clippers are my family, too. These fans, Billy Crystal, that’s my family. This is a team I have the utmost respect for, I’ll always be a Clipper.

“But this group right here, this group right here,” he said, gesturing at his Suns teammates wearing NBA Finals hats.

The West trophy glinted under the arena lights as orange-clad Suns fans outcheered boos from Clippers fans. Paul’s family, including leaping 12-year-old son, Chris, celebrated in a suite.

“This is what we set out to get tonight, so we didn’t want to go back to Phoenix without it,” Booker said.

Phoenix is the first team to reach the NBA Finals after a 10-year playoff drought. The Suns had the league’s second-best record in this pandemic-interrupted season. They knocked off the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round and swept Denver in the semifinals.

The Suns last made the NBA Finals in 1993, when they were led by Charles Barkley and lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games.

Their only other finals appearance was in 1976, a loss to the Boston Celtics in six games.

Things got chippy in the fourth. Going into a timeout with 5:48 remaining, Paul stared at Patrick Beverley as he walked by. Beverley turned around and shoved Paul hard in the back, sending him to the floor. Beverley was ejected.

“We knew we broke them,” Jae Crowder said. “There’s no better sign. That’s a great feeling to have.”

Marcus Morris led the Clippers with 26 points despite playing with a sore knee. George had 21 points and nine rebounds coming off his career playoff high that staved off elimination and brought his team back home for another chance.

But the exhausted Clippers — who rallied from 0-2 series deficits in getting to the West finals for the first time in franchise history — had little left in the tank. They were again without two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who has been out with a right knee spain, and center Ivica Zubac. He missed his second straight game because of a MCL sprain in his right knee.

Leonard moved from a suite to the bench for the game, his eyes staring from behind a black mask.

George said the series would have been different with Leonard available.

“You are talking about one of the best players being out and we are inches from being to the next round,” he said. “It’s a lot of what-ifs, but we didn’t make it.”

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said, “I thought we ran out of gas. For that first half, we made a lot of mistakes mentally. That tells you guys are tired.”

Chris Paul, who scored 41 points, shoots over Terance Mann during the Suns' 130-103 Western Conference final-clinching win over the Clippers.
Chris Paul, who scored 41 points, shoots over Terance Mann during the Suns’ 130-103 Western Conference final-clinching win over the Clippers.
Getty Images

Paul dominated over the end of the third and well into the fourth, scoring 14 of Phoenix’s 16 points after the Clippers closed within seven late in the third. He hit three 3-pointers in the final quarter, falling on his back and getting fouled on one of them.

“I kept asking him, ‘You tasting it? You tasting it?’” Crowder said. “He said, ‘No.’”

But with an unbeatable lead, Paul and the other starters sat down.

“He’s like, ‘I’m tasting it now,’” Crowder said, smiling. “It’s great to see him get over the hump.”

The Suns stretched their lead to 17 points in the third, dulling the Staples Center crowd. Five different players scored, highlighted by Crowder’s fifth 3-pointer and Booker’s dunk. Crowder finished with 19 points. Deandre Ayton added 16 points and 17 rebounds.

“Phoenix did a hell of a job,” Lue said. “CP was fantastic. Booker is a star at a young age and they have a good foundation. They played a hell of a series and go from there.”

The Clippers briefly re-energized themselves and the fans with a 10-0 run that drew them to 89-82. Morris and Nicolas Batum each hit 3-pointers.

But Paul closed on his own 8-0 run, including two 3-pointers, that sent the Suns into the fourth leading 97-83.

Booker ditched the clear plastic mask he’d worn to protect his broken nose in the last three games. He got elbowed in the nose defending George at the end of the third, and brought the mask back out in the fourth. Moments later, DeMarcus Cousins earned a technical foul for elbowing Paul in the neck.

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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