It didn’t take long for the playoffs series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns to get a bit scrappy. Less than eight minutes into Game 1, Chris Paul hurt his shoulder. He was able to return but it was clearly bothering him throughout the game. Later, Paul caused LeBron James to hurt his shoulder when he made him land awkwardly while going for a rebound.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel called out Paul for the play.
“It was an overly aggressive box out and a dangerous play,” Vogel said after the game. “LeBron was in the air and got undercut. The guys stood up for him. I didn’t exactly see what happened with the altercations, but we have some video to look at to see exactly what happened.”
Paul and LeBron are close friends so it’s highly unlikely he’d ever try to hurt him. He responded to Vogel’s claim and made it clear that he wasn’t trying to hurt anybody.
“I don’t know anything about that. I have absolutely nothing to say about that. We’re just playing basketball and competing,” Paul told Chris Hayes of Yahoo Sports. “I’m just thankful we got the win, and I’m looking forward to Game 2.”
Regardless, LeBron was able to continue playing but it was a scary moment.
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Anthony Davis Chimed in on Play
Injury concerns surrounding LeBron are heightened this season. He’s 36-years-old and already missed 27 games during the regular season. The normally durable LeBron isn’t as durable so anytime he hits the ground hard, the Lakers will be holding their breath. Anthony Davis agreed that the play was “dangerous,” but understands that it didn’t come from a bad place.
“Anytime you hit somebody’s leg, it’s always a dangerous play. That’s what you don’t want,” Davis said after the game. “You don’t want anyone to get injured on plays like that. But the intensity is where it’s supposed to be. Guys getting into it, chirping. That’s playoff basketball.”
Paul is also 36-years-old and is aiming to win his first championship. It’s to be expected that he’d come out aggressive in Game 1 against the defending champs. That said, both LeBron and him should be a little more cautious going forward.
Paul Updates Game 2 Status
Paul’s shoulder injury looked serious throughout the game. It affected his playmaking ability and was the source of a few turnovers. However, he’s not planning to sit out any games quite yet.
“I’ll be receiving around-the-clock treatment,” Paul told Yahoo Sports. “But I’ll be ready for Game 2 on Tuesday.”
Paul has had playoff runs derail because of injuries in the past. His body can’t always hold up towards the end of the year. He’s the ultimate competitor so he’s going to play as long as his body lets him. Unfortunately for the Suns, they have the misfortune of having their toughest playoff matchup take place in the first round. Paul isn’t going to get much rest while they’re playing the Lakers.