The Suns’ Chris Paul has not been himself the past few games.
He shot 5-of-13 in Game 4 with five turnovers — that makes 15 turnovers by Paul in the last three games — and he was willing to Cameron Payne take over a fair amount of playmaking duties as the night wore on. It’s just not the CP3 we expect, which has led to speculation that the torn ligaments in his right hand — which he admitted to after the Western Conference Finals — are bothering him.
“No, I’m good,” Paul said.
That was all he would say.
Suns coach Monty Williams used a few more words to say the same thing.
“He’s fine,” Williams said. “Other than having to deal with me, he’s good.”
Paul needs to be better than good — the Suns need to see the return of the Point God if it is going to take back the momentum of this series in Game 5 Saturday night. While they could use his scoring, it’s more about being a floor general, controlling the flow of the game, and not turning the ball over.
Paul’s final turnover was the final nail in the Suns’ coffin in Game 4. The Suns had the ball, down two, inside of :40 seconds. Paul tried to crossover and drive to the middle against Giannis Antetokounmpo, he slipped and lost the ball, and it became a transition bucket for Milwaukee going the other way. Ballgame.
The turnovers let the Bucks get out and run, and transition is where they have won they have won the last two games. Despite Khris Middleton‘s heroics, the Bucks’ offense has struggled in the halfcourt. However, in transition, the Bucks are efficient and their dominance in fast break points has keyed their two wins.
“I’ve turned the ball over hella times before,” Paul said of his turnovers. “End of the day, we got to win the game. Me turning the ball over is not giving us enough shots at the basket. I’ll figure it out.”
We’ll see Saturday night if Paul is good, as he says he is. The Suns need him to be — and more.