“It’s pretty obvious,” Williams said after Game 2. “He’s not able to pass the passes he wants. He was working tonight. I don’t want to go into too much detail until I talk to him. But you can see it. his arm wasn’t… he wasn’t even running as he ran and dribbled the ball this morning. “
Paul said he “heard a crack” after the injury itself, but was not on Phoenix’s injury report before Game 2. He started the game, but as it was unfolding, it became clear that it was not close to 100%. “We hope it gets better over the next 48 hours,” said Williams. “I don’t want to say too much or put too much detail in this question. “
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The Lakers tied the series 1-1 on Tuesday and, as Williams said, the Suns will only have 48 hours before they play Game 3 on the road at Staples Center on Thursday night. There’s no indication at this point that Paul will be too injured to play then, but if he’s not in better health at this point, the Suns have another option in Payne. The revival gave the Suns 19 points and seven assists in place of Paul in Game 2.
But Payne can’t be counted on to perform as well throughout a seven-game series. It is a safeguard. Paul is a future Hall of Famer, and the Lakers are the defending champions. The Suns need their best contributing player at a superstar level if they hope to dethrone the Lakers, but if Game 2 was any indication, he has an uphill battle ahead of him.