Chris Paul was unavailable to play in the Phoenix Suns’ Game 3 second-round playoff showdown against the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
The veteran point guard was out with a groin strain suffered in his team’s Game 2 loss.
That said, the Suns still won without him – and despite Deandre Ayton continuing his uncanny streak of coming up short in the postseason.
Ayton played in a mere 26 minutes in Game 3. For the night, he finished with four points and nine rebounds before being benched for backup center Jock Landale.
Landale scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds in his 22 minutes of action.
At one point, a visibly frustrated Ayton experienced something of an awkward moment on the Suns bench with Paul.
#Suns Deandre Ayton was visibly upset with being pulled down the stretch of Game 3.
— Eliav Gabay (@eliavgabay) May 6, 2023
NBA fans had some strong reactions to the encounter.
They immediately took to social media to react.
They simply cannot keep this guy on the team. His court awareness and basketball IQ are …….
— Frank Caloroso (@CalorosoFrank2) May 6, 2023
Hard to say if he meant to miss the dab up…. If he did that’s pathetic but I’m assuming he just didn’t see it
— Stan Steemer (@XTORSiONS) May 6, 2023
He doesn’t even want to be there lol… why did the suns match his salary.
— JP (@pj7831) May 6, 2023
After the game Ayton bounced without speaking to the media. Not great.
Head coach Monty Williams’ beef with his big man is a matter of public record.
The opportunity was there for all parties involved to go their separate ways this summer, but ultimately the Suns opted to retain Ayton.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/jAhdZC9nQw
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 6, 2023
Now they are dealing with the consequences of that.
Will Ayton and his squad be able to get on the same page at some point in this year’s playoffs? Time will tell.