Suns expect Paul to bounce back in key NBA Finals game

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·3-min read
Phoenix's Chris Paul, right, plans to bounce back in Saturday's fifth game of the NBA Finals after giving up five turnovers to Milwaukee in a game four loss, in part due to the tight defensive work of the Bucks Jrue Holiday, left
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Chris Paul surrendered five of Phoenix's 17 turnovers in a pivotal loss but the 36-year-old guard and his Suns teammates expect a revived effort in Saturday's NBA Finals contest.

The Suns and Milwaukee Bucks were deadlocked at 2-2 in the best-of-seven championship series, with Paul determined to perform better in the first finals of his 16-year career.

"It's something I don't dwell on," Paul said. "Even though it may be an anomaly, it happens. I've turned the ball over hella times before.

"End of the day, we got to win the game. Me turning the ball over is not giving us enough shots at the basket. I'll figure it out."

Suns coach Monty Williams isn't concerned about Paul having a bad night, calling it "a blip on the screen" as he sees the determination in his practice efforts.

"I just see Chris being Chris. He's always intentional about everything," Williams said. "Chris is fine. His focus is at a high level right now.

"The conversations are all about basketball. We know what's in front of us. You know Chris Paul. There's not a person in our locker room that's not expecting him to come out and play really well the next game."

Paul has also gotten support from other NBA stars, such as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.

"We talk. I got a number of guys that I talk to," Paul said. "We're always shooting texts here and there, whether it's him, Melo, D-Wade. That's what you do with friends. 'Good luck. Go win it.' It's not that dramatic."

Turnovers haven't been a long-term problem for the Suns and Jae Crowder doesn't see them staying one now.

"It's very simple. Just going back to playing the ball we know how to play, especially with the ball in our hands," Crowder said.

"I don't think it's too much of what they're doing. It's just us killing ourselves and having mental lapses throughout the game, which is causing us to turn the ball over.

"We've been a good team to take care of the ball all year, and we're going to get back to that."

Williams isn't worried about Bucks standout Jrue Holiday trying to guard Paul early to keep him uncomfortable on the offensive end.

"They're just trying to guard him full court. They're just trying to pressure Chris and slow him down," Williams said. "But they get tired doing that. It works both ways."

- Green off to Pelicans -

Holiday knows he has to try and smother Paul to weaken the Suns attack.

"No secrets. Just trying to make it uncomfortable for him," Holiday said. "Really just trying to be there, be around all the time."

Suns guard Devin Booker let slip one secret, an NBA move yet to be confirmed. He said how the Suns will be sorry to lose assistant coach Willie Green to the New Orleans Pelicans, who have a head coaching vacancy.

"I respect him to the fullest," Booker said. "New Orleans is going to have a really good guy on their hands that is taking control in leading that group. It's always tough to lose somebody like that out of the organization."

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