Chris Paul available for Game 3 vs. Clippers: ‘Ready to go,’ says Crowder

Jun 24, 2021, 11:25 AM | Updated: 11:55 am
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns is congratulated by Deandre Ayton #22 after a basket in Game Thre...
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns is congratulated by Deandre Ayton #22 after a basket in Game Three of the Western Conference second-round playoff series at Ball Arena on June 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul was with the team at shootaround Thursday prior to his team’s Game 3 matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers, forward Jae Crowder said.

The team has listed him as available.

Paul missed the first two games of the Western Conference Finals series, both Phoenix victories, while under the NBA’s health and safety protocols. According to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro, the point guard tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated.

News reports surfaced Wednesday afternoon that Paul was expected to return, having passed a cardiac test.

“He’s back with us,” Crowder said Thursday morning from Los Angeles. “It was great to have him on the court, walked through a few things, talked to him … it was great just to have one of our main guys back in the lineup and ready to go for tonight.”

Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes confirmed Paul will return to the starting lineup.

Cameron Payne started in Paul’s place the past two games, scoring 11 points in a Game 1 win and then a career high 29 points to go with two blocks and two steals in Game 2.

Payne recorded nine assists in each of those starts and has just a single turnover in 66 minutes played so far this series.

It’s not known if Paul would be on a minutes restriction upon his return. Suns head coach Monty Williams did say before Game 2 on Tuesday that he would have to go “toe-to-toe” with Paul if he were to consider holding him out or limiting his court time.

Regardless of his eventual addition as a floor general, the Suns will receive a boost just from his presence.

“He’s one of our main leaders on this team,” Crowder added Thursday. “He’s a guy who has a voice in our locker room. … When you give us that back, obviously it brings a joy, a sense of togetherness that all of our guys are back together and one of our leaders is back with us. For the morale of our team, it definitely enhances it a lot.

“I think it’s great to have him back especially on the road, tough environment, playoff environment where you need your leadership.”

Penguin Air

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green scramble for the ball dur...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns’ 6-game winning streak snapped by pesky Rockets

The Houston Rockets' rim pressure, rebounding and foul drawing continue to give the Phoenix Suns troubles, this time resulting in a loss.
2 days ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns in actin during a game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Arena on...
Jake Anderson

Devin Booker drops 3rd straight 40-point game in Suns’ loss to Rockets

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is on another planet compared to the rest of the NBA when it comes to scoring the basketball.
2 days ago
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 05: Dario Saric #20 of the Phoenix Suns checks into a preseason game ag...
Arizona Sports

Dario Saric starts for injured Torrey Craig; Chris Paul out for Suns against Rockets

Dario Saric will start in place of Torrey Craig on Friday night against the Houston Rockets, head coach Monty Williams told reporters pregame.
2 days ago
Phoenix Suns fans cheer on Suns guard Devin Booker after he scored against the Chicago Bulls during...
Arizona Sports

Devin Booker, Monty Williams named best in West for the month

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has been named Western Conference Player of the Month, the league announced on Thursday.
3 days ago
Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley after shoving Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton at Footpr...
Arizona Sports

Lakers’ Patrick Beverley would shove Suns’ Deandre Ayton all over again

Patrick Beverley has no regrets for his shove of Deandre Ayton that resulted in a three-game suspension for the guard.
3 days ago
Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks handles the ball against Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Sun...
Kevin Zimmerman

Devin Booker finds himself in a mess of an NBA MVP race

Devin Booker is among the top players on the top teams. But there is much room for the NBA MVP candidacies to shift this season.
3 days ago
Chris Paul available for Game 3 vs. Clippers: ‘Ready to go,’ says Crowder