As a Hall of Fame point guard, Mavericks coach Jason Kidd understands the challenge that Chris Paul presents, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Paul, who will turn 37 this week, is coming off one of the best playoff games of his career, making all 14 of his shots from the field and scoring 33 points Thursday as the Suns closed out the Pelicans.
“He’s perfected the point guard position,” Kidd said. “As you get more reps and you see different defenses, you start to understand what you have to do, and he knows how to move the pieces to get that advantage. When you talk about IQ, it’s off the charts and his competitiveness is off the charts and his will is off the charts. All the things that are off the charts, you’ve just got to make it tough on him.”
Dallas will counter with All-Star point guard Luka Doncic, who was also dominant in the first round after returning from a strained calf. Doncic indicated that the Mavs will try to be physical with Paul, but there’s no set way to contain him.
“It’s hard to slow him down,” Doncic said. “Like you saw in the last game, he didn’t miss. That was pretty crazy.”
There’s more from the Pacific Division:
- The Suns were fined $25K for not disclosing Devin Booker‘s status for Game 6 against New Orleans in “an accurate and timely manner,” according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Booker missed three games in the series with a sprained right hamstring before returning on Thursday.
- In an interview with TMZ Sports, Lakers swingman Kent Bazemore defended LeBron James against his critics and said he would like to re-sign with the team in free agency. Bazemore only played 39 games after signing with L.A. last summer, but he said there’s something special about playing for the team. “What I’ll say is nothing ain’t much better than being a Laker, right?” Bazemore said. “So, getting to see (Kobe Bryant‘s) numbers on the wall every day I went to practice was good inspiration for me. … There’s nothing like it, man. It’s a storied franchise.”
- Warriors forward Andre Iguodala has been ruled out of the first two games of the second-round series, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Iguodala is dealing with a cervical disc injury in his neck.