The Phoenix Suns were looking to return to the NBA Finals once for the second straight postseason, but that dream came crashing to a screeching halt in Sunday’s Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. The Suns were completely outclassed by the Mavericks to the tune of a whopping 123-90 defeat in a game in which Phoenix only scored a mind-boggling 27 first-half points.
“First off, I’m going to get a lot for this, but I don’t really care. They benched the wrong person. Should’ve benched [Chris Paul],” Beverley said. “And I’m not saying bench him now. Once you see they started attacking Chris early and you know that might become a problem later on, you need to see how the team works without Chris in the game a little bit. I got benched. We won, though, so you don’t even remember that.
“So as a coach, you have to understand, they’re attacking my main guy, I can’t get buckets from him, I have to make an adjustment, whatever that adjustment is. And that’s no fault against Monty [Williams], he’s a great coach, Coach of the Year. But [Ty Lue], if T-Lue’s there, he’s making that decision. It’s a hard decision, but he’s making it.”
Beverley wasn’t the only member of the Timberwolves to call out the Suns. Star guard Anthony Edwards also went viral for a video that he posted (and later deleted) in an Instagram story in which he called the Suns a “disgrace.”
“I remember we were playing Phoenix. They were talking so much s—, telling us we better make the playoffs, we ain’t gonna make the playoffs. We outta the playoffs, but y’all, this is a disgrace, bruh,” Edwards said in the video.
In the Game 7 loss, Paul scored just 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting to go along with four assists in 31 minutes. The veteran guard didn’t score his first points of the game until the third quarter. By that point, the game was already out of hand.
According to Marc J. Spears of Andscape, Paul was dealing with an undisclosed quad injury, but the Suns never listed Paul in the injury report. Meanwhile, Ayton also struggled with just five points and four rebounds in a series-low 17 minutes. Following the game, head coach Monty Williams stated that the reasoning for Ayton’s benching was “internal.”
Ayton didn’t speak to the media after the game. It’s quite an alarming storyline for Ayton, who will be a restricted free agent this summer.
It wasn’t the postseason exit that many envisioned for a Suns team that was expected to challenge for an NBA title this season. Instead, Phoenix bowed down in a shocking fashion and the franchise’s future is very murky to say the least.