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Chris Paul says Suns’ early season success speaks for itself

Phoenix Suns' Cam Johnson (23) Devin Booker (1) and Chris Paul (3) celebrate Johnson's last-second 3-pointer to end the third quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

There’s an old adage that Rome wasn’t built in a day that isn’t lost on veterans, like Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul.

Paul knows that the team’s successful first half of the NBA’s regular season is far from a guarantee for a successful second half of the year.

The veteran guard addressed the Suns’ success, with Phoenix currently holding the second-best record in the NBA, at 24-11, behind fellow Western Conference foe, the Utah Jazz.

Paul knows full well how much is left for the team to accomplish to clinch the franchise’s first playoff berth in 11 years.

“There’s a lot left to do to tell you the truth,” Paul said. “And it’s a credit to our coaching staff, the organization and the guys on our team. It’s fun to be around our guys.”

The 16th-year NBA guard said the team’s turnaround stems from their on-court camaraderie, combined with solid roster construction by the team’s front office.

“It’s just a great group to be around. We understand that we have to communicate with each other,” Paul said. “And the biggest thing that we know is, yeah, we know that the first half has been really good.

“And myself, Jae Crowder and a few other guys — after our last game against Golden State, we spoke about how important the second half is.”

That second half kicks off for Paul and the Suns on Thursday, when they head to Portland to face off against Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers.

For now, the focus for the team’s experienced cadre of players, including the likes of Paul and Crowder, is to preach consistency and effort to their younger peers.

Paul should know, having made the NBA playoffs in all but one season, dating back to 2008.

It appears as if the wily veteran will extend that streak in 2021, though he’s not taking anything for granted at this juncture.

For now, Paul says the Suns must flex their knees and ready themselves for what’s to come if they’re going to secure a postseason berth in 2021.

“When you’ve got a young team, they’ve not necessarily been there. The second half is a lot harder,” Paul said. “Games get a lot more intense when guys start jockeying for playoff position.

“So we’re just going to stay the course, keep our head down, and keep doing the work.”


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