Suns Optimistic Chris Paul Will Return For Game 3 Of WCF

The Suns are optimistic point guard Chris Paul will return from the NBA’s health and safety protocol in time for Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, per Dave McMenamin ad Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Paul is listed as probable.

The Suns took a 2-0 series lead Tuesday on a last-second dunk by center Deandre Ayton off a pinpoint inbounds pass from Jae Crowder. Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday in Los Angeles.

Paul, 36, also missed Game 1, a 120-114 Suns victory. He is averaging 15.7 points, 8.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds in the playoffs.

Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Paul has been quarantining in Los Angeles and remains symptom-free.

Suns coach Monty Williams indicated after Game 1 that Paul’s return would likely be coming soon.

“It’s just a day-to-day thing with him right now,” Williams said postgame. “I probably drive the people here crazy with that, but that’s the way it is. We’re hopeful that any day now we hear he can ramp up and get back with us. But right now, he’s in the protocol.”

Williams added before Game 2 that Paul is determined to return.

“We don’t have the luxury of waiting on anybody right now. These games are so important. Every practice, every film session,” Williams said. “We certainly would see where he’s at when that time comes, but that’s hard to make that judgment just because COVID is so different. You have COVID and the playoffs, you know what I mean? It’s not COVID and the regular season.

“I’m sure if I tried to keep Chris out of the game, we’d have to square off and go toe-to-toe. So we’ll just make that assessment when the time comes.”

The Suns last appeared in the Finals in 1993, while the Clippers haven’t made it once since their inception as the Buffalo Braves in 1970. They moved from Buffalo to San Diego in 1978, then to LA in 1984.

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