NBA news: Chris Paul is showing no signs of slowing down for the Phoenix Suns, who are on the rise.
Chris Paul didn’t appear or feel tired despite playing 40-plus minutes in two games in a row with only one day between them. “I feel okay, I’m calm,” Paul said following his team’s 115-109 win against the Jazz at home on Monday. “If you want, I can hoop again tomorrow.”
Devin Booker understands why Paul looks so fresh in the winter. “Vegan,” Booker remarked with a side grin, while Paul, 36, simply grinned as he leaned back in his chair next to him.
Whether on a diet or not, Paul is having one of his finest seasons in the NBA, leading Phoenix to the best record in the league.
In the last four games of Phoenix’s current seven-game winning run, the veteran point guard averaged 20 points on 61.1 percent shooting and 13.2 assists.
“I constantly speak about leadership and being outspoken, but the most overlooked element. Apart from the stats that he puts up, is keeping everybody organised,” Booker said. “Just making sure the team is ready to play and putting people in the appropriate areas. It’s almost like a choose your poison scenario with him. Especially if he’s getting solid screens and the bigs are rolling. He makes it tough for the defence.”
With a 15-point fourth quarter, Paul grabbed command Monday night.
The Suns embarked on an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter, with Paul scoring nine points and assisting on Bismack Biyombo’s basket. Paul remarked of the chase, “I’m not even going to lie, I don’t remember”. “All we have to do now is win the game.”
Paul also had a season-high seven turnovers, but just one of them came in the fourth quarter, when he played the entire 12 minutes. “It’s a privilege to have the ball in his hands,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “He makes the correct moves and isn’t hesitant to take those shots.”
In Saturday’s win over Indiana, Paul had only played 41 minutes and finished with 18 points, 16 assists, and four turnovers. Cameron Payne, the Suns’ backup point guard, injured his right wrist in the first half and was unable to play in the second.
As a result, Paul played 21 of the 24 minutes in the second half of Saturday’s game. If Payne was unable to attend Monday’s game, Williams planned to use Landry Shamet and Booker. Payne was unable to play because he will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Shamet and Booker did play someone, as promised, but Williams didn’t stay to the script for very long. As backup guard Elfrid Payton also played Monday night, Williams noted, “I felt (the second unit) was solid.”
“When a team scores like that, it’s natural to want to go back to the starting, but I thought Elfrid played well. I was under the impression that Ish (Wainright) had come in and given us a ride. We definitely could’ve kept him on the field for a lot longer. But I think the second unit, especially with the men we’re missing. Will have to play longer and more consistently as they did last night (Monday night). I simply did not stay with them long enough.”
This season, the Suns have had 15 players miss at least one game due to a variety of causes. It includes injuries or compliance with the league’s health and safety rules.