Suns’ Monty Williams explains why Chris Paul remained benched in comeback

Oct 20, 2022, 9:02 AM

Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul took a seat with 6:41 remaining in the fourth quarter Wednesday against the Dallas Mavericks, a typical breather period for the 37-year-old.

Paul had played just over 30 minutes, and head coach Monty Williams typically rests Paul before the point guard re-enters to close the game.

Wednesday went differently, though, as Paul never checked back in during Phoenix’s 107-105 win to open the season.

Reserves Cameron Payne and Damion Lee closed the game in place of the 12-time All-Star and Cam Johnson, who was dealing with leg cramping.

Williams stuck with the rotation that was working in the moment.

“I usually give him a three-minute break and then I bring him in to close,” Williams said postgame. “That’s been the rotation for us. But Cam (Payne) came in, we had a good rhythm. I just felt like it was the move to just stay with Cam. Chris was engaged … it was almost like he was out there.”

The Suns trailed by 10 when Paul checked out, and they came back after Lee hit the game-winning jumper with 9.7 seconds left.

Payne scored five points in the final five minutes, and Lee finished with 11 fourth-quarter points.

“Cam did such a good job with that group,” Williams added. “That group as a whole was pretty good on both ends, so I just rolled with it.”

The Suns’ defense closed the game out strong, as well, holding Dallas to 10 points in the final 6:41.

Payne said Paul was coaching him from the sidelines and affecting the game in another way.

“That’s big time coming from him,” Payne said.

Paul did not have his best shooting night with six points on six shots.

However, he still put his stamp on the game as a catalyst in Phoenix’s third-quarter comeback. Paul had five assists and two steals with four points in the period, as the Suns cut a 22-point deficit to five by the start of the fourth.

“As much as you want to have Chris out there, I know Chris wants to win,” Williams said. “And when I took him out my plan was to get them back in … I didn’t think it was that big of a decision, but I guess it is because it’s Chris.”

Phoenix Suns

David Fizdale, Phoenix Suns...

Arizona Sports

Report: Suns hiring assistant David Fizdale on Frank Vogel’s staff

The Phoenix Suns will reportedly add former Grizzlies and Knicks head coach David Fizdale to new head coach Frank Vogel's staff.

21 hours ago

Associate head coach Kevin Young of the Phoenix Suns during the first half of the NBA game against ...

Arizona Sports

Kevin Young to reportedly stay with Suns as NBA’s top-paid assistant

The Suns have reportedly agreed on a deal with assistant coach Kevin Young to remain on head coach Frank Vogel's coaching staff.

3 days ago

Former Suns head coach Monty Williams...

Arizona Sports

Pistons agree to deal with former Suns HC Monty Williams

Former Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams has agreed to a six-year deal worth $72 million to coach the Detroit Pistons.

4 days ago

Frank Vogel, Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns...

Kevin Zimmerman

What does Frank Vogel’s hire tell us about how Suns build the roster?

Frank Vogel agreeing to become the Phoenix Suns' head coach gives us a North Star of sorts for how the team will begin constructing a roster.

4 days ago

Frank Vogel...

Dan Bickley

Frank Vogel more than enough coach to lead Suns over championship hump

Frank Vogel is a solid choice, more than enough head coach to get where the Suns need to go. Now comes the hard part.

4 days ago

Former Suns F Mikal Bridges' Paradise Valley home for sale...

Arizona Sports

Former Suns forward Mikal Bridges sells Valley home for $6.68 million

It didn't take long for former Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges to sell his luxurious Paradise Valley home.

4 days ago

Suns’ Monty Williams explains why Chris Paul remained benched in comeback