PHOENIX SUNS

Chris Paul fights through injury to help Suns to Game 1 win over the Lakers

May 23, 2021, 3:22 PM | Updated: 8:14 pm

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns took down the Los Angeles Lakers, 99-90, in Game 1 of the team’s first playoff series since 2010.

It didn’t come without drama as point guard Chris Paul was forced to the locker room twice with a shoulder contusion injury suffered in the second quarter.

He was seen favoring his right shoulder and neck area after making contact with teammate Cam Johnson while attempting to defend LeBron James on a rebound.

He would return to the lineup and played important minutes with Devin Booker on the bench during the third quarter.

“I knew if there was anyway I could play, I was going to,” Paul said after the game.

Paul left the game again in the third quarter with the Suns up by 15 points. The Lakers promptly went on an 8-0 run forcing a timeout by head coach Monty Williams.

The Suns responded out of the timeout to end the quarter with a 13-point lead.

Paul was able to return with 1:17 remaining in the third quarter.

“Anytime a guy lays it on the line physically like that laying on his back and coming back and playing, it gives you juice,” head coach Monty Williams said after the game.

He finished with 34 minutes, seven points, eight assists and four rebounds.

“(Assistant coach) Willie Green said, ‘all they can take away is your shooting’,” Paul said.

His head coach was more impressed with his toughness.

“No one would have faulted him for not coming back,” Williams said.

“It gave not only our team juice but also our fans when he came back into the game.”

Devin Booker led the way for Phoenix with 34 points. Deandre Ayton added 21 points and 16 rebounds.

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