Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul left Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinal series against the Denver Nuggets due to left groin tightness. Paul’s status for Game 3 is uncertain as the series shifts to Phoenix with the Suns in an 0-2 hole against the Western Conference’s top seed. Devin Booker, who had 35 points and six assists in the loss, said the team will hold it down while he is out—or if he’s out—and take it from there. Cameron Payne, the Suns’ backup point guard, scored two points on 1-of-7 shooting in 17 minutes, during which Phoenix was outscored by 16 points.
Paul, who turns 38 on Saturday, has dealt with playoff injuries multiple times throughout his surefire Hall of Fame career. If Paul is unable to play, Booker will likely handle some of the point guard responsibilities. However, Suns coach Monty Williams expressed concern with asking any more of Booker, who has averaged 35.4 points and 6.6 assists in 42.9 minutes in the playoffs. “I think it’s a lot. He was probably more tired than he would admit, but with Chris off the floor, it puts a lot of pressure on him,” Williams said.
If necessary, Booker welcomes putting more on his shoulders. “The playoffs is a lot,” he said. “A lot comes with this, so you just have to embrace it. Embrace the challenge, embrace the opportunity that we have right now, even down 0-2. Get back home, protect our home court and go from there. But a lot is on all of our plates, and that’s everybody throughout the playoffs right now.”