PHOENIX SUNS

Chris Paul unleashes in 4th of Suns’ Game 1 win over Nuggets

Jun 7, 2021, 9:21 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2021, 7:37 am

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) shoots as Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) looks on durin...

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) shoots as Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (50) looks on during the second half of Game 1 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Monday, June 7, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Chris Paul winced and grabbed at his shoulder briefly when a Denver Nuggets collided with him trying to make a routine overhead pass minutes into the game.

He looked apprehensive about shooting very open threes.

His teammates didn’t look for him often on Monday at Phoenix Suns Arena.

But the Phoenix Suns point guard must have used some adrenaline to his advantage, as he scored 14 fourth-quarter points in a 122-105 victory over Denver in Game 1 of the teams’ second-round series.

“Just sort of trying to be aggressive, trying to stay aggressive. I missed a lot of shots early, especially start of third quarter,” Paul said.

Paul entered the fourth quarter with seven points on 2-of-8 shooting as Phoenix led 88-79. From there, he went nuts.

The point guard hit all six of his shots from the field in the fourth and along with three assists accounted for 20 of the Suns’ 34 fourth-quarter points.

“Chris has been in those moments so many times,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said. “I don’t think not making shots is going to rattle him. I think he’s more concerned trying to manage the game than he is his shooting percentage.”

Whether it was from three, mid-range or in attacking Denver’s interior, Paul appeared just fine four days after he reinjured a stinger in his right shoulder to close out the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the first round.

“It definitely loosens up,” Paul said. “One thing about it is you don’t get like no practice time. The only way you get a chance to see how it is is in a game.”

Paul got plenty of help in the blowout.

Deandre Ayton added 20 points and 10 boards, Devin Booker scored 21 as well and wing Mikal Bridges led the Suns with 23 points.

Phoenix Suns

Kyle Zunic #22 of the Perth Wildcats shoots a layup against Tyler Smith #11 of G League Ignite in t...

Kellan Olson

22 for 22: Do Suns go project route in 2024 NBA Draft with Tyler Smith?

G League Ignite forward Tyler Smith has a combination of size and shooting rarely seen on the first-round bubble of the NBA Draft.

9 hours ago

Tyler Kolek, Marquette point guard...

Ryan Pasiecznik

Point guard Tyler Kolek picked by Suns in For The Win’s NBA mock draft

The Phoenix Suns' point guard problem could be solved in the 2024 NBA Draft if Marquette guard Tyler Kolek is on the board at No. 22.

12 hours ago

Bobi Klintman  of the Taipans in action during the round 13 NBL match between Cairns Taipans and Me...

Kellan Olson

22 for 22: Bobi Klintman could be Suns’ big wing in 2024 NBA Draft

If the Phoenix Suns want a bigger wing in the 2024 NBA Draft, Bobi Klintman is a headliner in the back of the first round.

1 day ago

Charles Barkley looks on prior to game three of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Ce...

Kellan Olson

Charles Barkley says next season will be his last on television

Long-time NBA analyst for TNT Charles Barkley revealed on NBA TV Friday night that next season will be his last on television.

2 days ago

Jaime Jaquez Jr. #11 of the Miami Heat is guarded by Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Golden State Warrior...

Kellan Olson

22 for 22: Can Suns find rare instant contributor in NBA Draft?

There is no doubting the value it would bring the Phoenix Suns to select a player in the NBA Draft who was a long-term part of what they do.

2 days ago

Cam Payne's mug shot after an arrest in Scottsdale...

Arizona Sports

Former Suns PG Cam Payne arrested in Scottsdale for refusing to give identity to police

Former Phoenix Suns point guard Cam Payne was arrested for failing to provide Scottsdale Police officers with his name.

2 days ago

Chris Paul unleashes in 4th of Suns’ Game 1 win over Nuggets