Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns must be unhappy. After taking a 2-0 series lead in their Western Conference semifinals matchup against the Dallas Mavericks, the Suns have now lost two straight games. Phoenix suffered their second successive defeat in Dallas when they lost 101-111 to the Mavericks on Sunday night. Paul fouled out of the game, finishing with only five points against his name. The series now stands tied at 2-2.
This was only the fourth time in his career that Chris Paul has fouled out of a playoff game. One of the reasons why Paul fouled out of the contest was that the Mavs’ players enticed CP3 into picking up cheap fouls. One such play happened before the halftime buzzer when Luka Doncic tumbled towards the baseline after getting bumped by Paul.
Officials called CP3 for his fourth personal foul as Paul checked with Doncic to see if he had pushed him that hard. Doncic replied to Paul, “No, not that hard. But it was a smart play.” Paul agreed and said, “Yeah, I know.”
The episode and the ensuing exchange was symptomatic of the reputation CP3 has earned of being a master at drawing fouls and landing opposition players in foul trouble by flopping. On Sunday night, the Suns point guard was on the receiving end of this kind of play. Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said as much when he told the media:
“I thought JB [Jalen Brunson] and Luka and those guys did a really good job of understanding when we were in the bonus. I think we’re being taught by one of the best point guards ever on the other side of how to do things. That’s pretty cool this time of year.”
Suns-Mavericks now down to best-of-three affair after Chris Paul’s second successive underwhelming game
Chris Paul fouled out of Game 4 early in the fourth quarter. The single-digit scoring performance came less than forty-eight hours after Paul had committed seven turnovers in Game 3. It was Paul’s second-worst (tied) turnover showing after the eight turnovers he conceded against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2012 Playoffs.
Paul’s five points on Sunday night were also the third-lowest scoring performance of his NBA playoff career. Having averaged 23.5 ppg over the first two games of the conference semis versus the Mavericks, there is no disputing that CP3 will have to emulate that form if the Suns have to avoid getting beaten by the lower-ranked Mavericks in this series.