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.”


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Phoenix Suns

Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns celebrates his dunk in the second quarter against the Brookly...
Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns’ Tuesday matchup vs. Nets flexed to TNT

The Phoenix Suns' game against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday has been flexed to TNT, the NBA announced.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) runs upcourt after scoring against the Utah Jazz during the fir...
Tyler Drake

Suns’ Devin Booker not named a 2023 NBA All-Star Game reserve

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was not selected as a reserve for the 2023 NBA All-Star Game taking place on Feb. 19.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns guard Damion Lee (10) shoots against Memphis Grizzlies forward Ziaire Williams (8) in ...
Austin Scott

Chris Paul pushes for Suns’ Damion Lee 3-point contest appearance

Damion Lee is shooting above 45% from three this season, and would "gladly accept" an invitation to the three-point contest.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) shoots over Toronto Raptors forward O.G. Anunoby (3) during ...
Kevin Zimmerman

Raptors, Suns reportedly talked Deandre Ayton sign-and-trade last summer

Might the Toronto Raptors still have interest in Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton at the NBA trade deadline?
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) defends Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) in the second h...
Arizona Sports

Devin Booker not a given to make NBA All-Star Game as reserve

Devin Booker's participation in 29 of the Phoenix Suns' 53 games heading into Thursday could push him out of making the NBA All-Star Game.
1 day ago
Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) dunks over Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul during the first h...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns start slow, fail to recover in blowout home loss to Hawks

The Phoenix Suns didn't have the same type of energy they've shown the last couple of weeks and it was the wrong night for that to happen.
2 days ago
Suns’ Monty Williams explains why Chris Paul remained benched in comeback