Chris Paul says he's not retiring after Phoenix Suns' season ends in stunning blowout

For the second straight year, Suns point guard Chris Paul's season came to an end with his team failing to protect a 2-0 series lead en route to a disappointing NBA playoffs exit.

And for the second straight year, Paul felt compelled to announce he has no plans to walk away from the game in the immediate aftermath of that devastation.

After the Suns' 123-90 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday, Paul said: "You play long enough and you don't win, every time you lose, they're going to say it was your best chance,".

He said, "But I think for me, us, it's we'll be right back next year. I'll tell you that much. "I'm not retiring tomorrow, thank God. Hopefully, I'm healthy coming back. But I'm [going to] keep playing."

He averaged 23.5 points and just two turnovers in the first two games -- including a masterful 14-point fourth quarter in Game 2 -- and Phoenix took a 2-0 lead.

In the last five games, all of which came after his 37th birthday on May 6, he averaged 9.4 points and 3.6 turnovers. Phoenix lost four out of five, collapsing in a similar fashion to its NBA finals loss to the Milwaukee Bucks when two wins were followed by four losses.

Suns coach Monty Williams took the blame for the loss but Paul wouldn't accept that.  He said, "I think we just came out and just didn't have enough,".   "I think Mont said that's on him, but I think that's on me, as the point guard, the leader of the team. To come out and make sure you're getting the right shots and all that."

Paul finished with the worst plus-minus of his 17-year career between the regular season and playoffs combined.

Chris Paul says he's not retiring

Phoenix joined the 2006-07 Dallas Mavericks and 2015-16 San Antonio Spurs as the third team in league history to win at least 64 games in the regular season and fail to advance to at least the conference finals. The 60 combined points the Suns lost Games 6 and 7 by represented the second-largest score difference over Games 6 and 7 of a playoff series, going all the way back to 1962 when the Warriors beat the St. Louis Bombers by 62 over the final two games, per ESPN Stats & Information research.

Paul is now 3-5 in Game 7s in his career, having lost four in a row, and the 2021-22 Suns are now a poster child for coming up small in a big moment.

"Right now, everything is such a blur," Paul said. "The season just ended. It's all abrupt."