NBA

NBA playoffs 2021: Suns unsure over Paul injury, LeBron prepared for Davis absence

By Sports Desk June 02, 2021

The Phoenix Suns are hopeful but unsure about Chris Paul's availability for Game 6 after he injured his shoulder again in Tuesday's 115-85 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Suns took a 3-2 series lead over the Lakers with a victory that was soured by Paul's injury, which leaves his availability for Game 6 on Thursday in doubt.

The 36-year-old went down in pain, clutching his right shoulder halfway through the third quarter after a minor collision with Laker Wesley Matthews.

Paul left the court and did not return to action, although he sat on the bench in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, with coach Monty Williams revealing he said he still had strength in the shoulder which has troubled him all series.

Williams preferred not to offer any official update, instead stating the Suns medical staff will assess Paul on Wednesday.

"He went in the back and got some treatment," Williams said. "When I talked with him when he came back out, he said he still had his strength.

"He seems to be okay but we want to wait until tomorrow after he wakes up and our medical team can make an assessment."

Paul, who played almost 23 minutes and scored nine points to go with six assists, said that the injury felt "very uncomfortable", leaving him "helpless".

"It scared me," Paul said during his post-match video conference. "It was just a very uncomfortable feeling. I felt helpless. When it happened, I was looking up and didn’t know what happened with Wes.

"But after I'd seen it I came back out on the court and I told Wes it was a clean play and it was unfortunate my neck and arm snapped again like it did."

The Lakers were missing their own star, with forward Anthony Davis absent due to a left groin strain.

Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James said he was preparing for Game 6 without Davis being available.

"My mindset is as if AD won't be in the game in Game 6, if something changes we go from there," James said post-match. "I'm preparing as if he's not."

Related items

  • NBA Draft 2022: Chet Holmgren eager to meet Josh Giddey after Thunder chat NBA Draft 2022: Chet Holmgren eager to meet Josh Giddey after Thunder chat

    Chet Holmgren revealed he had already been in contact with Josh Giddey before his selection by the Oklahoma City Thunder in Thursday's 2022 NBA Draft.

    The 19-year-old Australian represents a significant part of the Thunder's future plans, averaging 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists in his rookie season, with Holmgren disclosing discussions between the two on how and where they could both fit.

    While the 20-year-old Holmgren insisted he is eager to meet all of his future team-mates upon arriving in Oklahoma City, Giddey is a particular case after already outlining their potential future.

    "I'm looking forward to meeting all of them and getting to work with all of them," Holmgren said on ESPN's draft broadcast. "But I've been speaking to Josh a little bit throughout this process, so I'm definitely looking forward to finally meeting him.

    "[The discussion] hasn't been so much advice yet, as much as it has been talking about the Thunder and what they are, what he sees in me and how we can play together."

    Even after Paolo Banchero was taken first by the Orlando Magic, there was little surprise Thunder general manager Sam Presti would then go with Holmgren at number two.

    As a big who can stretch the floor, the seven-foot-one Holmgren exhibited unique shooting touch for his size in his freshman year at Gonzaga, potentially creating more space for someone like Giddey to make plays.

    Despite leading the Bulldogs to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament and the likely scenario of a lottery pick on Thursday, Holmgren still found it all surreal upon his selection.

    "Obviously, Paolo's a hell of a player, he said. "I'm proud of him, and I'm happy for him, but when I heard my name, it was nothing but excitement, and I'm ready to get to work.

    "I can't even describe it. I've got zero words for the 1,000 emotions that I'm having right now, but they're all very good."

  • NBA Draft 2022: Number one pick snub 'definitely added a chip', says Jabari Smith NBA Draft 2022: Number one pick snub 'definitely added a chip', says Jabari Smith

    Jabari Smith admitted there is a chip on his shoulder after being overlooked by the Orlando Magic for the number one pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, but vowed to show the Houston Rockets that the Magic's loss is their gain.

    Orlando instead picked Paolo Banchero, despite Smith being heavily tipped to have his name called.

    Chet Holmgren was chosen second as expected by Oklahoma City Thunder, allowing the Rockets the chance to pick up Smith at three.

    Speaking to reporters after Thursday's draft, the 19-year-old said: "[It] Definitely added a chip, but God makes no mistakes, so I'm happy to be here. 

    "I'm happy to be where I'm wanted. I'm happy to get to Houston and just show them. Give them what they picked. Just happy to be here."

    Smith was a disruptive defender for Aubern, and averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 42.9 per cent from the floor and 42 per cent from the three-point line in 2021-22.

    The forward was named National Freshman of the Year by both the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

    He will link up with other promising youngsters at Toyota Center, including Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun, both claimed in last year's draft.

    "Most thing I'm looking forward to is just growing with them over these next few years," Smith added.

    "We're all young, all new to the NBA lifestyle, so just learning from them. They're older than me, so just getting in there and ultimately building that relationship with them, so it can transfer to the court."

    The Rockets had a league-worst record of 20-62 in the 2021-22 season, but Smith is aiming high, believing already that his new team can reach the postseason.

    "I want to make the playoffs," Smith told ESPN. "I want to win games. That is how I was raised. That is just who I am. I want to come in and win games.

    "I know if I come in every day trying to win, everything else will take care of itself. I am looking forward to a big year."

  • Sons of Shaq, Pippen sign with Lakers Sons of Shaq, Pippen sign with Lakers

    The Los Angeles Lakers did not have a first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but they will have a pair of high-profile rookies on their Summer League roster. 

    Ex-LSU forward Shareef O'Neal and former Vanderbilt guard Scotty Pippen Jr have agreed to free-agent contracts with the team as they try to follow their famous fathers into the NBA.

    O'Neal is the son of Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, who played eight seasons with the Lakers from 1996 to 2004 and helped the franchise to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002. 

    Pippen's father, Scottie, was a seven-time All-Star and a major part of the Chicago Bulls dynasty in the 1990s that won six NBA titles in an eight-year span from 1991 to 1998.

    According to The Athletic, O'Neal has received an invitation to play on the Lakers' Summer League team in Las Vegas, while Pippen Jr has agreed to a two-way contract – as has Syracuse's Cole Swider.

    Both players confirmed the signings on their Twitter accounts.

    "THANK YOU FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY @Lakers!," O'Neal wrote while posting a short video of him as a child in a Lakers jersey.

    "Dreams come true. Let's get to work #lakeshow," Pippen Jr tweeted.

    The six-foot-10 O'Neal began his collegiate career at UCLA before transferring to LSU, where his father starred prior to being taken by the Orlando Magic with the number one overall pick of the 1992 draft. Foot injuries limited the younger O'Neal to only 37 games over three college seasons.

    Pippen Jr, a six-foot-three guard who attended high school in the Los Angeles area, went undrafted despite a standout three-year career at Vanderbilt in which he scored 1,577 points in three seasons.

    The 21-year-old averaged over 20 points per game in each of his final two seasons and was a two-time first team All-Southeastern Conference selection.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.