PHOENIX — Here is what Phoenix Suns starting guards Chris Paul and Devin Booker said after their team’s 123-109 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 2 of the first-round series between the teams in the NBA playoffs.
On if the Suns found a groove by getting used to the Clippers’ defense or finding things out themselves:
Booker: “It was obviously a point of emphasis for us to have a better start, but you’re still not promised that you’re going to make all your shots. So we just felt the game out, settled into it, seeing what they were doing and just went from there.”
On Paul shooting 7-of-9 after he started 1-of-5:
Paul: “Got to. I mean, with the way we was playing, pace, whatnot, them doubling on (Suns forward) [Kevin Durant] and just, we’ve been doing this for a while. A lot of times, me and (Suns center) [Deandre Ayton], when we get to our pick-and-roll with the shooters that we got, that leads to [mid-range shots] wide open.”
On Paul getting a win in a game that Scott Foster officiated after he had not won 13 consecutive playoff games with Foster as referee:
Paul: “I ain’t even notice. I think we all about, in this run, never mind the distractions. That is what it is, I’m sure it’s still going to be a thing. League know what it is, so can’t control it. They ain’t been able to control all the other ones, so they ain’t going to change now. The game is the game.”
On Booker’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the first half and how it parlayed into more positive stretches for the Suns:
Booker: “I think how we finished out the second quarter overall, outside of that shot was good momentum going into the third, and how we started the third quarter was big for us too. We obviously wanted to get off to a better start again and didn’t. But we just let the game settle and go from there.”
On his playmaking in the game:
Booker: “It’s that time of year. Everything counts. I think with the talent that we have on this team, spacing is a big thing. So just trying to give [Durant] space, trying to give [Paul] space. Just putting everybody in the best position to succeed.”
Booker: “That’s a two-time champ, two-time (NBA) Finals MVP. He’s proven enough. I mean, we didn’t lose any games with each other during the regular season, and we just dropped Game 1. We just wanted to come out and respond and like you said, spacing is a big part of that. He’s so talented you just have to let him work.”
On playing through officiating:
Paul: “That’s an emphasis going on all playoffs, you know what I mean? Minimize distractions. We know what it look like sometimes during the regular season, [technical fouls], this, that and the third. We’re trying to control what we can control, just trying to stay present and focused.”
Booker: “It’s mostly us two. So got to hold each other accountable with it.”
Paul: “Straight up.”
On forward Torrey Craig’s contributions this series:
Paul: “Craig man, he just hit about every big shot for us tonight. If you watch games, it’s the timing of his shots. Sometimes, when a team got a chance to cut it to six to four or three and then Craig hit a three to put us up nine, it was the timing of his shots that he made. That’s big in this series.”
On only attempting one 3-pointer in the game:
Paul: “It’s funny, I’ve been practicing threes like crazy, thinking that they was going to leave me open like the last few games. And then I spent the whole day watching all my shots against the Clippers throughout the season. They was really giving me [mid-range shots], just refocusing. They’re not really leaving me for the three, but we done played against them a lot. So just get to your spots.”
On the Clippers changing defenses and how the Suns are managing it:
Paul: “That’s (Clippers coach) [Tyronn Lue].
Booker: “Yeah. I think when they do that, we just have to simplify it. They do a lot of things that we haven’t seen before, but they have a veteran team that can do it on the fly. I don’t think a lot of teams can do that, and I remember in our last series with them (in the 2021 Western Conference Finals) they had a lot of stuff with it too. When they’re doing that, just simplify it for us.”
On what it was like sitting on the Suns’ Game 1 loss Sunday and Monday:
Booker: “It’s never a good feeling. But yeah, I just got on Call of Duty and blew some steam off.”
Paul: “That’s all he do. That’s all he do, is play Call of Duty.”
Booker: “Forget what (Minnesota Timberwolves guard) Mike Conley said, man (below). You got to play… that’s our generation, man.”
Mike Conley: "That's the kind of attention to detail you got to have. You can't just go home and play video games. This is the time to do a little extra work."— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) April 15, 2023
Karl-Anthony Towns: "We playing Call of Duty or what Mike?"
Conley: "Watch some film first." pic.twitter.com/Qyn8cPvLSk
(Paul seemed to talk about Foster one more time at the end of the video, but the question was unclear so we did not know for certain).