Suns’ Chris Paul Ruled Out for Game 3
Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul has officially been ruled out for Game 3 with a groin strain that he suffered during Game 2 action against the Denver Nuggets that saw him leave the game early, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Paul, who has a history of missing time in the playoffs due to injury, is in doubt for Game 4 as well as the Suns look to climb back into the series down 0-2.
“Obviously we are going to miss Chris,” Suns forward Kevin Durant said on Thursday. “And what he brings to the table. We just got to go out there and play our game, play together, we try not to think too much about it and try to move the ball and play together… and put yourself in a good position.”
Suns’ center Deandre Ayton thinks it presents an opportunity for the Suns to rally.
“Just new adversity,” Ayton said. “It’s all a part of the playoffs and the thing is, it’s really enlightened us. Now we got to grit and grind, now we’re desperate.
“And I kind of like it. We got nothing to lose.”
With the Suns down 0-2, and moving forward without Paul, head coach Monty Williams is expected to switch things up to create more offense from a bench that has been lackluster thus far, leaning on veteran scorers such as T.J. Warren and Terrence Ross.
Still, the Suns will be pressed to ask more of superstars Durant and Devin Booker.
“That’s what we get paid to do,” Durant said. “Whatever’s required of us. If we got to play more minutes, take more shots, we each got to do it.”
The Nuggets, in the driver’s seat up 2-0, know that the Suns are going to switch it up, especially with their bench.
“Anytime you take out arguably the best point guard to ever play, he makes everybody better,” Nuggets head coach Mike Malone said. “One of the best playmakers that we’ve seen, competitor, leader. So without him, obviously, I think you’re going to see Cameron Payne more. I know they’ve alluded to playing maybe Terrence Ross and TJ Warren off the bench. More scoring. The ball will be in Devin Poker’s hands more as we saw in the fourth quarter at our place of Game Two.
“But for us, as we went through the first round and now in the second round, we prepared for the other team. Ultimately it comes down to us being the best version of ourselves and whether Chris Paul plays or not, that doesn’t change our mindset, our focus and what we’re trying to do. We know it starts and ends with Devin and Kevin.”