Chris Paul has been smallest player on the court in almost every game he’s played in during his incredible 17-year NBA career. It’s impossible to have that type of longevity at Paul’s size without knowing every little way to gain an advantage on the opposition. Paul has a particularly special way of blurring the line between being dirty and opportunistic, especially when he’s in the NBA Playoffs.
With the Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans tied 2-2 in their first round series after a hamstring injury to Devin Booker, Paul knew he had to pull out all the stops to get the Suns a critical Game 5 win. Apparently, that included kicking Pelicans pest Jose Alvarado in the junk when he went up for a jump shot.
Paul somehow got away with this during the game before the Suns ran away with a 112-97 victory. Two days later, the league assessed him a flagrant foul.
Chris Paul (PHX) has been assessed a Flagrant Foul 1 upon league review for his contact against Jose Alvarado (NOP) at 4:35 of the 2nd quarter on 4/26/22. pic.twitter.com/TY2JM3vbfr— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) April 28, 2022
Phoenix now has a 3-2 series lead and the chance to advance to the second round in Game 6.
In many ways, Alvarado feels Paul’s apprentice. He’s frustrated the Suns star in ways we’ve rarely ever seen, drawing multiple eight-second violations in the backcourt and showing he’s every bit as tricky as CP3. Paul yelling at Alvarado on the court is perhaps the defining moment of this series. For as great as the undrafted rookie has been, Chris Paul still has his team in control of this series without Booker.
As the play was going around Twitter, Draymond Green chimed in.
Been ejected for less— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) April 27, 2022
Green was of course suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals for a similar play with the Warriors holding a 3-1 lead in the series. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers would come back to win one of the most memorable titles ever.
While it’s a similar play, CP3 got away with it during the game. That is a classic Chris Paul in every way.