Suns’ Paul expected to play after being listed as available

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Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul congratulates teammates during a timeout in the second half of Game 4 of an NBA second-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets, Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Paul is expected to play for the Phoenix Suns Thursday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Paul was upgraded to available from probable on the league’s injury report and participated in the team’s shootaround Thursday afternoon. He missed the first two games while in the NBA’s health and safety protocols since June 16.

“He’s back with us. It was great to have him on the court, walk through a few things, talk to him about some stuff that we’ve been talking about amongst one another. It was great to just have one of our guys back in the lineup and ready to go,” forward Jae Crowder said.

The 36-year-old point guard averaged 25.5 points, 10.2 assists and 5.0 rebounds in the second round against Denver. He scored a game-high 37 points in final game of the series on June 13.

Phoenix has been on a roll, winning nine straight postseason games, including the first two of the Clippers series.

Paul — who played for the Clippers from 2011-17 — was named to the All-NBA Second Team earlier this week. He averaged 16.4 points during the regular season and 15.7 points in the playoffs.

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