The Nuggets gave another display of their title-contending season by beating the Phoenix Suns 97 to 87 in this Monday’s Game 2 of the Western Conference’s semifinal matchup. Losing the series 0-2 isn’t their only worry however, as guard Chris Paul had to leave the game due to left groin tightness.
As the series now shift to Arizona, the player’s status seems uncertain. Paul now awaits to recieve an update from his medical staff while he hopes to be back from Game 3 this Friday night.
Chris Paul headed into the locker room with an apparent injury. pic.twitter.com/SLAJEJaMsr
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 2, 2023
“All we can do is hope he has a speedy recovery,” said Suns star Devin Booker, who led his squad in points with 35, and added 6 assists to his stat line. “We’re going to be behind him. We’re going to hold it down while he is out — or if he’s out — and just take it from there.”
The Arizona point guard did not talk to the press after the contest as he was seen exiting the arena as soon as the final buzzer hit. Paul grabbed his left groin after fighting for the ball with rival Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and checked out of the game with 4:32 remaining in the third quarter.
“He just came up where he couldn’t push off of it or anything,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams explained. “We’re not quite sure what it is right now, but it seems to be something in the groin area. We’ll find out more tomorrow.”
The veteran athlete is averaging 12.4 points and 7.4 assists during this playoffs, but if he’s unable to participate in Game 3, Booker will have to handle more point guard duties than usual.
“I think it’s a lot,” Williams said. “He was probably more tired than he would admit, but with Chris off the floor, it puts a lot of pressure on him. So I got to figure that out.”
“I mean, the playoffs is a lot,” said Booker, who has averaged 35.4 points and 6.6 assists in 42.9 minutes in the playoffs so far. “A lot comes with this, so you just have to embrace it. Embrace the challenge, embrace the opportunity that we have right now, even down 0-2.
“Get back home, protect our home court and go from there. But a lot is on all of our plates, and that’s everybody throughout the playoffs right now.”
The Suns were not able to stop Nikola Jokic’s MVP performance
“My team needed me to be aggressive. They were guarding me one-on-one. I just tried to score,” Jokic told reporters after the match. “It was that kind of game.”
It was the kind of game that proves exactly why the Serbian is the two-time MVP and currently contesting at the top of this campaign’s league award with Sixers’ Joel Embiid, as he dropped 39 points and won 16 rebounds.
Take a look at the big man’s highlights from their 10-point margin victory against Phoenix:
“I marvel at his greatness, I marvel at his consistency, his excellence, his ability to find so many different ways to beat you – whether it’s scoring, rebound or playmaking,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said about his star player. “He’s not afraid of the moment.”