In the eyes of many folks, it was unfortunate that the Suns returned to the playoffs after an 11-year drought and had to face the defending champion Lakers in the first round.
Going up against the defending champs is no easy task for any team, but it seemed as if the Suns could give LBJ and AD’s Lakers a really competitive series.
The Suns actually welcomed the challenge, confident that their Western Conference regular-season title wasn’t just a good look on paper.
The injury bug, however, struck the Suns’ floor general yet again in the playoffs as Chris Paul is clearly hobbled by a lingering shoulder injury he suffered in Game 1.
Despite the injury, Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton helped carry the load and led the Suns to a surprising Game 1 victory at home.
Once Games 2 and 3 rolled around, the aforementioned Lakers duo began to look more like themselves, leading the Lakers to wins in both bouts, while Paul was on the mend the majority of both games.
The time he did spend on the floor was riddled with clear signs that he could not raise his shoulder to get into any sort of shot.
He also had numerous times where he just lost control of the ball without any resistance, something we’ve never seen from the future Hall of Famer since he was drafted in 2005.
Postseason disappointment stemming from horribly-timed injuries has come to define Paul’s illustrious career.
Every time a CP3 led team gets close to being legitimate title contenders, the Point God’s health becomes compromised.
Whether it be his hamstring with the Rockets or a fractured hand with the Clippers, Paul has had some of the worst injury luck in recent history.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith even mentioned he believes the Lakers are getting off “Scott free” due to the All-NBA guard’s lingering shoulder injury.
This series was gonna be a lot tougher, but without a healthy Chris Paul, the Suns are essentially what they were in 2019-20 — but with a gritty, high-strung wing in Jae Crowder.
For the “Valley of the Sun” to have any hope of rising again in this series, they’ll need to have Chris Paul back and playing at MVP caliber as he has most of the season.
With Game 4 Sunday at Staples Center, the Suns have to win if they have any hope of extending this series beyond 5 games, and again that begins with the help of the “Maestro” from Wake Forest.