PHOENIX SUNS

Chris Paul, Jae Crowder available for Suns against Bucks

Feb 10, 2021, 7:43 PM
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) passes the ball as New Orleans Pelicans center Steven Adams (12) ...

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) passes the ball as New Orleans Pelicans center Steven Adams (12) and guard Eric Bledsoe (5) defend during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)

(AP Photo/Derick Hingle)

The Phoenix Suns have been rolling, winning six of their last seven contests, and they’ve been doing so shorthanded.

Ahead of Wednesday’s matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, they’re getting some bodies back.

Point guard Chris Paul (right hamstring soreness) and forward Jae Crowder (right foot soreness) are active and Paul is starting.

Paul missed the Suns’ last game after really coming into form as of late. He’s now averaging 16.4 points and 8.2 assists per game after some stellar outings that included 29- and 34-point nights against the Dallas Mavericks.

Without Paul for Monday’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, veteran guard E’Twaun Moore started in his place. Moore played well, logging 40 minutes and scoring 17 points.

Crowder has been out for Phoenix’s last three games after playing a combined 28 minutes in his previous two outings. Williams moved Crowder out of the starting lineup in favor of Cam Johnson in mid-January. Since then, Williams has moved center Frank Kaminsky in for Johnson, forming a big frontcourt alongside Deandre Ayton. That change remiained in for Wednesday’s game.

Crowder on the season is averaging 10.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

Wing Abdel Nader (left ankle soreness) is still out.

Nader missed the Feb. 1 meeting against the Dallas Mavericks because of the ankle before playing in the Suns’ next two games. He went on to miss the last two.

Williams has spoken highly of what Nader brings to the rotation as another wing that attacks the basket off the dribble and defends with good speed and length. He’s posting 8.3 points per game in 17.8 minutes a night.

Point guard Cameron Payne (right foot sprain) and center Dario Saric (left ankle sprain) remain out.

Payne has now missed nine straight games after trying to play through a sprained right ankle. Saric’s time under health and safety protocols plus spraining his left ankle while getting his conditioning back now makes this 13 straight for the Suns without the Croatian big man.

Despite the Suns being without two of their top three options off the bench, they’ve been able to win without them. Moore has given the Suns what Williams describes as “knowhow” with his play in the backup point guard spot. Kaminsky backed up Ayton well at center before moving into the starting lineup. That’s where Saric has really been missed, as Damian Jones’ play has been uninspiring.

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