“Every time you lose, they’re going to say it was your greatest opportunity,” Paul said following the Suns’ 123-90 defeat to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference playoffs on Sunday. “However, I believe we will return next year. “I will say this much.”
“Thank God, I’m not retiring tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be in good health when I return. But I’m going to keep playing.” The outcome of the series paralleled Paul’s performance for the Suns. In the first two games, he averaged 23.5 points and committed only two turnovers, including a spectacular 14-point fourth quarter in Game 2, as Phoenix seized a 2-0 lead. However, in the five games since his 37th birthday on May 6, he has averaged 9.4 points and 3.6 turnovers per game. Phoenix collapsed in a manner comparable to their NBA finals defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks, in which two victories were followed by four losses.
On Sunday, Paul was unproductive, ending with 10 points and four assists, but not making his first field goal until the Suns were behind by 40 points in the third quarter. According to accounts, he staggered to the finish line with a left quad injury that hindered his movement.