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Chris Paul has been historically bad when his teams have taken a 2-0 lead in the playoffs, and it’s happening again against the Dallas Mavericks

If the Suns want to beat the Mavs in Game 7, they will need to change their defensive approach while looking to get CP3 involved early and often on offense
Chris Paul has been historically bad when his teams have taken a 2-0 lead in the playoffs, and it’s happening again against the Dallas Mavericks

While his regular-season accolades have made him a legend, Paul’s postseason struggles have been the one thing that has haunted him throughout his career.

Chris Paul will undoubtedly be a Hall-of-Famer once he decides to retire. Paul embodies what it means to be a “true point guard,” as he finds ways to score while getting his teammates involved. Unfortunately, there aren’t many players like Paul left in the league.

The one area Paul has struggled with throughout his career has been the postseason. Paul has never won a ring during his 17-year career, and he only made his first Finals appearance last season when his Phoenix Suns ended up losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games. While his regular-season accolades have made him a legend, Paul’s postseason struggles have been the one thing that has haunted him throughout his career.

Those struggles have been especially prominent when Paul’s teams take 2-0 leads in the postseason. Paul is the only player to blow four 2-0 leads in NBA history, and he may be at risk of seeing that total increase to five if the Suns end up losing Game 7 against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday afternoon. It also hasn’t helped how Paul has played terribly since Phoenix took a 2-0 lead against Dallas, which is a big reason this series has been pushed to seven games.

Paul has not been himself since the Suns went up 2-0 over the Mavs

There have been a lot of reasons Paul has blown four 2-0 leads throughout his career, and he hasn’t been solely responsible for each time it has happened. However, if Phoenix does lose this series against Dallas, Paul will have to shoulder much of the blame.

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Since Phoenix went up 2-0 in the series, Paul has only averaged 9.3 points per game and 6.3 assists per game while turning the ball over 4.5 times per game. So basically, Paul has looked like a shell of himself over the past few games.

This isn’t good news for the Suns, as they will need “CP3” to figure things out fast if they don’t want to get bounced by the Mavs. Paul is the conductor of their offense, and it’s not surprising to see that Phoenix has only won one game with him struggling to do much of anything. Paul’s legacy is already secured, but he cannot afford to keep wasting chances to win a ring, and this may be his best opportunity to win one yet, so losing Game 7 can’t be an option for him.

How Paul and the Suns can win Game 7 against the Mavs

This series began with the Suns ruthlessly attacking Luka Doncic on offense to take advantage of his poor defensive play. Dallas has countered this successfully by employing Randy Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith on Phoenix’s star guard duo of Paul and Devin Booker. Conversely, they have attacked Paul on defense, often trying to get him matched up against Doncic, and it appears to be taking its toll on him.

In Game 7, Phoenix will have to keep Mikal Bridges on Doncic as much as possible. Bridges is one of the best defenders in the league, and he offers the Suns the best option of at least slowing Doncic down. Paul is much better suited to stick with a guy like Jalen Brunson, so avoiding those switches when they can will be crucial.

Offensively, Paul always likes to get his teammates involved early before he starts scoring later in the game. That mentality will have to change, at least for Game 7, because Phoenix needs to get Paul going early and often if they want a shot of winning.

Monty Williams should draw up a couple of plays within the first six minutes of the game that are designed to get Paul some open mid-range jumpers that he has made a habit of hitting. If he can hit those, that should help open up looks for his teammates, and the Suns will most likely be in control of the proceedings.

Paul is the key to everything Phoenix does; after all, he was the final piece that pushed them from a Play-In team to a championship contender. His struggles are worrying, but this series isn’t over yet. Paul has a chance to exercise his demons in Game 7 against Dallas because he will play a big part in determining who wins or loses the game.

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