Chris Paul Ruled Out for Suns vs. Clippers Game 1 Due to Health Protocols

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2021

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul warms up prior to 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)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul will miss Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Clippers as he remains in the league's health and safety protocol. 

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Suns star Chris Paul (protocols) is out for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals vs. the Clippers.

Paul entered the protocol Wednesday, and he is without a timetable for return. 

The Suns acquired Paul to help take a young roster to the next level, and he did just that as Phoenix finished second in the Western Conference at 51-21.

The 36-year-old led the team in assists (8.9 per game) while averaging 16.4 points. He also shot 39.5 percent from beyond the arc, the fourth-best rate of his career.

Without Paul for Game 1, the Suns will lean heavily on Cameron Payne to serve as a steadying force in the backcourt. 

In the Suns' four-game sweep of the Denver Nuggets, Payne averaged 6.8 points and 2.3 assists per game. The series prior, when Paul was hampered by a shoulder injury, Payne contributed 12.5 points and 3.3 dimes a night.