The Phoenix Suns will be without two of their key players, Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul, for Game 6 against the Denver Nuggets in the NBA playoffs. Ayton and Paul have been ruled out due to health and safety protocols related to COVID-19.
The news of Ayton and Paul’s absence comes just hours before the crucial game, which could determine the winner of the first-round series. The Suns currently lead the series 3-2, but the Nuggets have shown resilience and managed to win Game 5.
Deandre Ayton, the Suns’ starting center, has been instrumental to the team’s success this season. He has averaged 15.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game during the regular season, and has been even more dominant in the playoffs, averaging 15.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.
Meanwhile, Chris Paul, the team’s star point guard, has been a vital contributor to the Suns’ success this season. He has averaged 16.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 8.9 assists per game during the regular season, and has been a major factor in the team’s playoff run so far.
The Suns will have to rely on their other players to step up in the absence of Ayton and Paul. Devin Booker, who has been sensational in the playoffs, will likely have to take on an even bigger role on offense. Meanwhile, Cameron Payne will likely start at point guard in place of Paul.
Despite the absence of two key players, the Suns will still have a chance to close out the series and advance to the next round. However, they will need to play with intensity and focus in order to overcome the resilient Nuggets, who have shown that they are not an easy team to beat.
It remains to be seen how long Ayton and Paul will be out, and whether they will be available for a potential Game 7. In the meantime, the Suns will have to rally around each other and find a way to win without their star center and point guard.