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Chris Paul gutted through a right shoulder contusion to help the Phoenix Suns close out the Los Angeles Lakers, 99-90, in Game 1 of their first-round series on Sunday.

Paul suffered the injury with nine minutes, 24 seconds remaining in the first half when LeBron James leaped over him for an offensive rebound and putback layup. Paul swiped for the ball with his right arm, losing his balance. As his momentum took him toward the floor, the point guard’s head knocked against the right arm of teammate Cameron Johnson.

Paul immediately writhed on the floor in pain as members of both the Suns and Lakers surrounded him after Phoenix called timeout.

He was helped up to his feet by James and members of the Suns’ medical staff. James — friends with Paul since high school — gave the guard a hug before Paul retreated to the locker room for observation.

Paul returned to the bench a short time later and was met with a roar from the home crowd. He checked back into that game at the 5:32 mark of the second quarter.

The Suns point guard looked limited by the injury, but still left his mark by hitting a clutch jumper to end a Lakers’ run midway through the fourth quarter. Paul finished with 7 points and 8 assists in 36 minutes.

syndicated from ESPN

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