Suns’ Chris Paul returns from injury with 22-point double-double in win over Grizzlies

Jan 22, 2023, 8:40 PM | Updated: 10:15 pm

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) drives around Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams (4) during th...

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) drives around Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams (4) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Point guard Chris Paul made a statement in his return to Phoenix Suns in Sunday’s 112-110 win over the Memphis Grizzlies at Footprint Center.

After missing the last seven games due to a sore right hip, the Point God came out with a 15-point first quarter on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3-for-4 from three-point range.

He also added three rebounds, two assists and one steal in 9:34 played in the opening frame en route to a 32-18 lead.

Paul finished with a 22-point double-double on 44.4% shooting from the field (8-of-21), including going 3-for-9 from deep and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line.

He added 11 assists, six rebounds and three steals in 38 minutes played.

“Man, I was so excited,” Paul told the Bally Sports broadcast when asked how it felt to be back. “I missed that road trip. We got guys who are battling, trying to get back. (Devin Booker) is in there working every day, Cam Payne, (Landry Shamet), everybody.

“So everything has been by committee and I just want to shout out the guys who are in there fighting, competing night in and night out to keep us afloat.”

Paul was also accompanied by Cam Johnson in the starting lineup, with the wing making just his first start and second appearance since Nov. 4 because of a meniscus (knee) injury.

The Suns were still without Deandre Ayton (non-COVID illness), Booker (left groin strain), Payne (right foot sprain), Shamet (right foot soreness) and forward Jae Crowder (not with team).

The 37-year-old Paul was playing in only his 27th game of the season after missing 14 contests earlier this year due to a heel injury.

Paul had been finding a rhythm before his latest ailment, having averaged 17.3 points on 50% three-point shooting and 8.5 assists per game over his last 11 full contests.

The Suns went 4-7 in those games, but they were also 2-6 without Booker in that span.

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