Paul was boxing out Kentavious Caldwell-Pope when the Nuggets guard went up for an offensive rebound with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. Shortly after the play, Paul walked toward the bench and went to the locker room.
“He couldn’t push off of it or anything,” Williams explained after Monday’s game. “We’re not quite sure what it is right now, but it seems to be something in the groin area.”
“I mean, it’s an unfortunate event, obviously,” Suns guard Devin Booker said Monday. “I don’t know what it is yet. I haven’t really got to talk to him, but all we can do is hope he has a speedy recovery. We’re going to be behind him. We’re going to hold it down while he’s out or if he’s out. We’ll just take it from there.”
Paul, who turns 38 on Saturday, ranks fifth on the NBA’s all-time playoff assists list and 11th in steals.
Sources informed the The Republic that Paul will be out at least a week with a left groin strain. The Suns play Game 3 and 4 Friday and Sunday, respectively, of this Western Conference semifinals series at Footprint Center.
The Nuggets have a 2-0 series lead after Monday’s 97-87 win at Ball Arena. If there is a Game 5, it’ll be May 9 in Denver.
“Pray he get better,” Suns backup point guard Cameron Payne said after Game 2. “Praying he get that right.”
The Suns released a medical update Tuesday evening on Paul’s status.
“Further evaluation has confirmed that Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul has sustained a left groin strain. He is considered day to day.”
They are the fifth seed in the Western Conference and have one of the most talented starting lineups in the NBA that features Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton (in addition to Paul).
The Nuggets are the first seed and defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round (in five games)
Paul exited with eight points, five rebounds and six assists in 25 minutes, with Phoenix having outscored Denver by eight while he was on the floor. He is averaging 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.4 points and 1.7 steals per game in the playoffs while shooting 41.8% overall and 32.1% on 3-pointers.
The fourth-seeded Suns trail top-seeded Denver 2-0 as the Western Conference semifinals as it heads to Phoenix for Game 3 on Friday (10 ET, ESPN).
“All we can do is hope he has a speedy recovery,” said Suns guard Devin Booker. “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.”
Paul turns 38 on Saturday and has been mostly healthy in his previous two playoff runs with Phoenix. He missed Games 1 and 2 of the 2021 Western Conference finals because he was placed in the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, but was strong the rest of the series and had 41 in a series-clinching Game 6 win. He appeared in every playoff game for the Suns in 2022, which ended with them losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the West semifinals.
Driving the news: Paul left game 2 with about 4.5 minutes to go in the third quarter of Monday’s loss to the Nuggets, citing tightness in his groin. He didn’t return and there’s no word on whether Paul will be able to play in game 3.
Cam Payne and Damion Lee represent the next men up at point guard for the Suns, but their combined 1-for-12 performance in 42 minutes in Game 2 didn’t exactly inspire confidence.
It’s unclear how long Butler will be sidelined. If he’s out for an extended period of time, however, the Heat could be in trouble. Butler averaged nearly 38 points in Miami’s 4-1 series win over the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. He dropped 56 points in Game 4 of that series, and then hit a wild tip-in bucket to force overtime in Game 5.
Game 3 of the series is set for Saturday in Miami, which gives Butler a few extra days to recover. Considering he didn’t have to leave the game early on Sunday after initially going down with the ankle injury, the nearly weeklong break between games may be all he needs to bounce back.
But a 12-3 run saw New York surge from a six-point deficit to a 99-96 lead. Jalen Brunson’s 3-pointer with 4:07 remaining gave New York the lead for good, allowing the Knicks to escape from Madison Square Garden with a 111-105 win and 1-1 series tie against the eighth-seeded Heat with the series shifting to Miami.
While Miami spread the ball around with Jimmy Butler sidelined, the Knicks saw Brunson, Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett combine for 79 of their 111 points to secure the win.
The Knicks got off to a hot start sparked by Barrett and the return of Randle, who missed Game 1 due to an ankle injury. Barrett scored 16 and Randle scored 10 as New York opened a 31-29 first-quarter lead.
Brunson led the Knicks’ effort with 30 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals while hitting 10 of 19 field-goal attempts, including six of 10 from 3-point distance. Randle returned after missing Game 1 due to an ankle sprain to tally 25 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. Barrett finished with 24 while hitting five of nine 3-point attempts.
Martin started for Butler, who was ruled out before tipoff due to an ankle sprain sustained in Game 1. He led the Heat with 22 points alongside 8 rebounds, while shooting 4-of-8 from 3-point distance. Vincent tallied 21 points and 5 assists, while Bam Adebayo posted 15 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
A Heat team that averaged 34.8 3-point attempts per game in the regular season launched 49 on Tuesday, hitting 17 for a 34.7% success rate. The Knicks, meanwhile, hit 16 of 40 (40%) 3-point attempts and secured a 50-34 rebounding edge that proved critical down the stretch.
The series shifts to Miami for Game 3 on Saturday, giving Butler four days to rest and rehabilitate his injured ankle. Herro has a cast on his hand and won’t return during the series.
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