PHOENIX SUNS

Chris Paul injures left groin in Suns’ Game 2 loss to Nuggets

May 1, 2023, 8:47 PM | Updated: May 2, 2023, 12:39 am

Chris Paul in Suns-Nuggets...

Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns drives against Bruce Brown #11 of the Denver Nuggets in the third quarter at Ball Arena on April 29, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul departed in the third quarter of Game 2 against the Denver Nuggets on Monday with left groin tightness and was ruled out of the 97-87 loss.

Paul injured himself after he jumped for a rebound but gave up the board and putback by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

“Just looked like he was boxing out,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “He just came out where he couldn’t push off of it or anything. We’re not quite sure what it is right now but it seems like something in the groin area.”

Paul grabbed at his leg and was pulled after the Suns suffered a turnover and gave up an and-one on a transition basket.

Phoenix, which trails 2-0 in the Western Conference semifinals series, still led Denver 59-56 after Michael Porter Jr. hit a free throw with 4:32 left in the third quarter. With 30 seconds left in the third, the Suns were up by eight, the team’s largest advantage on the night.

From there, however, Phoenix would go on a cold spell. The Suns were stuck on 73 points for the first four minutes of the fourth and scored 14 points total in the fourth.

“We just stopped moving (the ball). In the first half and even in the third quarter, we’d run a pick-and-roll, kick it to the backside and we just played. After Chris went down, it kind of went away, a little bit,” Williams said.

Paul, who turns 38 years old on Saturday, recorded eight points and six assists with four rebounds before his injury.

Entering Game 2, Paul averaged 13.2 points, 7.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds in the first six games of the playoff run while playing 37.5 minutes.

It was an extension of his regular season role. In 59 regular season games, Paul averaged 32.0 minutes a night.

The Suns had already turned to backup point guard Cam Payne as Paul’s backup with Damion Lee as the second guard off the bench in Game 2, a changeup from head coach Monty Williams turning to Landry Shamet for the first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers and Game 1 of the semifinals against Denver.

Devin Booker paced the Suns with 35 points and six assists.

Nikola Jokic led Denver with 39 points, 16 rebounds and five assists in the win as his Nuggets held Phoenix to 40% shooting on 6-of-31 accuracy from three.

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