PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns are encouraged with the progress of Chris Paul and are hopeful that he will clear the COVID-19 health and safety protocols at some point early in the Western Conference finals, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Paul is quarantining in Los Angeles and has been symptoms-free since testing positive for COVID-19 last week, sources said.
Devin Booker elevated his game in the absence of Paul by snatching his first career triple-double of 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.
“We wanted to do it for him,” Booker said. “We talked about that pregame. We knew we were all going to have to give it a little bit more. Ball security and my job keeping everybody involved; stuff that’s usually on Chris’ plate. We all had to make up for it as a team.”
Suns coach Monty Williams said Paul’s return is unknown.
“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.”
Cameron Payne started in place of Paul and produced 11 points and nine assists. He shared the advice Paul offered before the game.
“[Paul] said the game is going to be hectic, but keep your poise,” Payne said. “That was the first thing he told me. He called me yesterday and he said, ‘The game’s going to get hectic. Don’t worry about it; be poised. I know y’all ain't played in a long time and the crowd is going to be crazy,’ but he was like, ‘Be poised and get on to the next play.’”
Game 2 is Tuesday at Phoenix Suns Arena.
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