NBA

Chris Paul labels Suns' roster as best he's played with

By Sports Desk April 23, 2023

Chris Paul said he has "never played with this much talent" after helping the Phoenix Suns to an imposing 3-1 lead over the Los Angeles Clippers in their first-round playoff series.

The Suns are among the favourites to reach the Conference Finals from the West given a stacked roster that now includes Kevin Durant alongside Paul and Devin Booker.

Paul (19 points), Durant (31 points) and Booker (30 points) all contributed in Saturday's 112-100 victory, which leaves the Suns one win away from progressing.

At 37, Paul – who spent seven years at the Clippers – has been around the block but this crop of Phoenix stars is among the best he has seen assembled.

"I've never played with this much talent," said Paul, who drained 12 of his points in the fourth quarter. 

"Where people are doubling off of me. I've never seen so many open shots.

"It's something that I'm getting used to. Trying to figure out when to pick your spots, when to be aggressive. We're figuring this thing out on the fly. I'm just happy that a few of them fell tonight."

The Suns were sloppy at the start of the second half, giving up seven straight points in the opening minute, leading to Paul aiming a few choice words at the team from the bench.

"I think the way the third quarter started, I was p*****. We all was," Paul added. 

"We were on the bench sort of going at each other. But it's healthy. Just trying to get us going. I tried to get myself going defensively. The shots, they're going to come."

One potential concern is a lack of depth, with Durant (45), Booker (42) and Paul (38) racking up big minutes – indeed the former two players are clocking an average of 43 minutes in the playoffs.

But Durant gave short shrift to the idea of being overworked.

"How'd I look tonight?" Durant said. "I felt great. I missed a lot of time this season. 

"I want to be out there every minute. I wish I could play 48 every game."

Durant also had high praise for Clippers star Russell Westbrook, who had a game-high 37 points.

Westbrook endured a tough spell at the Clippers' rivals the Los Angeles Lakers, but Durant said he is among the best in the business.

"People going to always criticise when you're successful and doing your thing for this long. Russ has been resilient his whole life. He comes to work, doesn't say much. Just come hoop," Durant added.

"When he retires, people are going to really tell the truth about his game. Right now, the fun thing to do is to make a joke out of Russ. But the way he's been playing since he got with the Clippers is showing everybody who he really is."

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