Suns' Chris Paul Will 'Absolutely' Play vs. Lakers in Game 2 Despite Shoulder Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 23, 2021

An injured Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul grimaces in pain during the first half of Game 1 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Sunday's 99-90 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series isn't the only good news for the Phoenix Suns.

Chris Paul will also be ready to roll for Tuesday's Game 2.

"Absolutely," he told reporters when asked if he will play in Game 2 after suffering a right shoulder injury Sunday. "I'll be alright. I just kept thinking to myself, 'Get through the game.'"

Paul went down with the shoulder injury in the first half and went to the locker room.

To the Suns' credit, they maintained their lead without him thanks in large part to the brilliant play of Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker. Ayton finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds while outplaying Anthony Davis, and Booker tallied 34 points, eight assists and seven rebounds while taking over some of the ball-handling duties when Paul was sidelined.

CP3 eventually returned to and finished the game, although he briefly returned to the locker room in the second half as well.

Head coach Monty Williams pointed out the emotional lift the veteran provided by returning and helping lead the team to victory:

Kellan Olson @KellanOlson

Monty Williams said Chris Paul playing through his injury is something that can give you juice. Monty said you could see the emotion on Paul's face battling through it and he got emotional himself. Said he loves Chris. Thought about his well being but trusted him.

That it was Paul providing the emotional boost doesn't come as much surprise. After all, he immediately helped change the team's culture after the Suns traded for him in November. Paul then played a critical role in guiding Phoenix to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference in its first playoff appearance since 2009-10.

While the injury seemed to hamper Paul—he struggled to maintain his dribble and didn't seek out as many shots as he typically does—the veteran point guard still figures to be a critical presence in the upcoming games for Phoenix, especially if and when it needs big plays in crunch time.

That makes his proclamation that he will "absolutely" be on the floor an even more welcome development for the Suns.