PHOENIX SUNS

Chris Paul gets midrange shots to fall early in Suns loss to Lakers

May 27, 2021, 8:16 PM | Updated: May 28, 2021, 1:18 am

Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns waits during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at ...

Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns waits during the first quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 02, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul looked like himself in one regard on Thursday in Game 3 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Paul hit two of his signature midrange jumpers in the first quarter, to the relief of Suns fans looking for positive signs that his right shoulder was looking better after the first two games.

On the second jumper, Paul’s form broke off a bit to the point where it was noticeable, like the two opening games. He was also passing underhanded in a few situations, an effort to not throw those overhand feeds he’s been struggling with.

That zip on his passes wasn’t there, either, and free throws continue to appear to be an issue. He missed his third of the series after leading the league in free throw percentage at 93.4%.

But as was the case in Game 2, Paul’s struggles with his shoulder got worse as the game went on.

The Lakers were clearly defending Paul a certain way, playing off him and welcoming him to shoot, knowing his limitations.

He sat for the final 9:34 of the game and had seven points, five rebounds and six assists in 27 minutes of a 109-95 loss for the Suns.

Paul was called a “full go” by head coach Monty Williams pregame and started the game after being listed as probable with a right shoulder contusion. Williams pulled Paul from the Suns’ loss on Tuesday with seven minutes to go after Paul was clearly being bothered by the shoulder.

In his first two playoff games with the Suns, Paul averaged 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game.

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Chris Paul gets midrange shots to fall early in Suns loss to Lakers