Updated: May 1, 2023 at 10:12 p.m
Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul left in the third quarter of Game 2 against the Denver Nuggets on Monday with tight left thigh and was ruled out for the 97-87 loss.
Paul injured himself after jumping for a rebound but gave up the board and was pulled back by Kentavious Caldwell Pope.
“It looked like he was boxing,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “It just came out where he couldn’t push or anything. We’re not quite sure what it is now but it looks like something in the groin area.”
Paul caught his leg and was pulled after the Suns suffered a turnover and gave up one on a transitional basket.
Phoenix, trailing 2-0 in the Western Conference Semifinal series, still led Denver 59-56 after Michael Porter Jr. hit a free throw with 4:32 left in the third quarter. With 30 seconds left in the third, the Suns moved up by eight seconds, the team’s biggest advantage of the night.
From there, however, Phoenix would go into a cold spell. The Suns hung with 73 points in the first four minutes of the fourth and scored 14 points in total in the fourth.
“We stopped moving (the ball). In the first half and even in the third quarter, we were running a bunt and kicking it in the ass and just played it. After Chris fell, he kind of went wide,” said Williams.
Paul, who turns 38 on Saturday, scored eight points, six assists and four rebounds before getting injured.
Entering Game 2, Paul averaged 13.2 points, 7.7 assists, and 5.0 rebounds in the first six games of the playoff run while playing 37.5 minutes.
It was an extension of his regular season role. In 59 regular season games, Paul averaged 32.0 minutes per night.
The Suns had already switched to backup point guard Cam Payne as Paul’s backup with Damion Lee as the second point guard off the bench in Game 2, a change from head coach Monty Williams switching to Landry Shamet in the first round series against the Los Angeles Clippers. and Game 1 of the semifinals against Denver.
Devin Booker scored 35 points and six assists.
Nikola Jokic led Denver with 39 points, 16 rebounds, and five assists in the win as the Nuggets put Phoenix on a 40% lead on 6-of-31 accuracy from three.