How Suns’ Chris Paul keeps a positive outlook after recent playoff absence vs. Clippers

LOS ANGELES — With the same candor that he often uses toward teammates and officials, Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul spoke bluntly and critically about his own play.

In his first game after being sidelined for eight days because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Paul labored through the Suns’ Game 3 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers with 15 points while shooting 5-of-19 from the field and 2-of-7 from 3-point range.

"I got to be better," Paul said. "I shot terrible. I've got to pick up the pace."

Despite his frustrations, Paul maintained perspective about his unfortunate circumstances.

What did Paul make of testing positive for the coronavirus despite already receiving the COVID-19 vaccine? "(Expletive) happens," he said.

What did Paul think of his conditioning and health in 39 minutes after missing the Suns’ Game 1 and 2 wins? "I was good; I’ll feel even better the next game," he said.

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How Paul has kept this outlook partly traces back to his varying experiences during his 16-year NBA career. His eventual Hall of Fame induction might center on his standing on the NBA’s all-time assists list (currently fifth with 10,275). Or his competitiveness that entails demanding more out of his teammates, challenging officials and outsmarting opponents. But throughout Paul’s journey with the former New Orleans Hornets (2005-11), the Clippers (2011-17), Houston (2017-19) and Oklahoma City (2019-20), he experienced five first-round exits and five losses in the second round, many because of various injuries.

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