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Suns point guard Chris Paul has been the target of harsh criticism after his lackluster performance in Sunday’s Game 7 loss to the Mavericks. However, the 37-year-old veteran still has a loyal supporter in his coach.

Monty Williams stood firmly behind Paul during an exit press conference on Monday, explaining that he and the rest of the franchise understand how valuable the 12-time All-Star is as a leader and player. When asked what he thought of the recent wave of vitriol after Paul’s 10-point performance in Game 7, Williams refused to give the criticism of his point guard any additional air time.

“Chris is one of the best basketball players in the history of the game, so if you’re going to have people commenting on him who aren’t even in that class, why would I comment on it?” He responded.

Williams’s defense of Paul came just hours after Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley unloaded on his peer while making the media rounds on Monday morning. Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up and First Take, Beverley blasted Paul, saying that the Suns All-Star should have been benched in Game 7 and that he “can’t guard nobody.”

“He can’t guard. He literally can’t guard,” Beverley told Stephen A. Smith. The Timberwolves guard then compared Paul to an orange cone.

“Man, CP can’t guard nobody, man. Everybody in the NBA knows that,” he continued. “What do we call him? Cone. You know when you do cones? Like, in the summertime, you gotta cone. You make a move. What does the cone do?”

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ESPN host Mike Greenberg then interjected, “Stay still,” to which Beverley emphatically responded, “Exactly!”

Beverley’s assessment of Paul, a nine-time NBA All-Defensive selection, is a bit harsh and likely stems from the complicated history between the two. However, there is some truth to the Suns’ struggles coinciding with the struggles of their veteran point guard. 

Paul was magnificent in the first two games of Phoenix’s semifinal series against Dallas, scoring a combined 47 points and coughing up just five total turnovers in the team’s back-to-back wins. However, he never scored more than 13 points in any of the next five games and was a popular target for the Mavericks’ offense to attack.

The Suns lost four of the last five games of the series, including a 123–90 shellacking on Sunday night, bringing their hopes of a repeat trip to the NBA Finals to a close.

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