Game 1 availability for Suns’ Chris Paul remains in doubt
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul’s availability is in doubt for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals after the team announced Saturday that he remains under the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
The Suns are playing in the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2010. They will host the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 on Sunday afternoon.
“Because of the climate that we live, things change from day-to-day,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said Saturday. “I try to take it one day at a time. I certainly understand the line of questions, but for me, based on the information and based on the history of this particular protocol, everything is day-to-day. So that’s how I have to approach it.”
Cameron Payne is expected to start if the 36-year-old Paul can’t play on Sunday.
The Suns advanced to the conference finals with a sweep of the Denver Nuggets behind Paul’s 25.5 points per game and 41-to-5 assist-to-turnover ratio in the series. Paul was placed in protocols Wednesday, three days after the Suns ended the Nuggets’ season.
Paul, who is the president of the NBA Players Union, has made one other trip to the conference finals — in 2018 with the Houston Rockets. He was forced out of that series with a hamstring injury after the Rockets went up 3-2 in the best-of-seven set. Houston lost the final two games to the Golden State Warriors.