After his 86th playoff game, Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul is finally headed to his first conference finals.
Make no mistake, the Houston Rockets are James Harden‘s team. However, last night Paul put the team on his back.
Harden had a down night last night. He only had 18 points on 7 of 22 shooting. Including only making one three-point shot out of seven. He rounded out his stat line with four rebounds and four assists. However, per Paul in a post-game interview, Harden was under the weather yesterday.
Regardless, Paul has never taken over a game like that during his tenure as a member of the Houston Rockets. His night ended with 41 points including eight threes out of ten tries. He also had ten assists and seven rebounds. His points were a playoff career high.
Whether it was pulling up for some clutch threes or dishing out dimes, Paul did it all. Oh, by the way, he did it all in an incredibly efficient manner with ZERO turnovers.
After only shooting 30% in the third quarter, the Houston Rockets were down by three, 78-75. Paul channeled his superstar and completely took over the game in the fourth quarter. He led the way with 20 fourth-quarter points.
In doing so, he squashed the persistent, annoying narrative that has haunted his NBA career.
So congratulations to you Mr. Chris Paul for shaking off that narrative and reaching the conference finals. You put this Houston Rockets team on your back on a night when they needed it. Hopefully, this spark will power the time to an NBA finals appearance.
However, Paul wasn’t the only one to step up tonight. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker. Tucker was a monster from the corner yesterday connecting on five of seven threes.
The Golden State Warriors finished off the New Orleans Pelicans last night. So the Houston Rockets will face off with a team they know all too well.
This season the Rockets won the series two games to one. However, the last time these two teams met in the playoffs the Warriors beat the Rockets in five. It happened in both 2015 and 2016. 2015 was also in the Western Conference Finals.
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The Warriors are coming off a “down” season, by their standards. They suffered injuries to Klay Thompson and Steph Curry. In fact, Curry just came back this series. However, Kevin Durant has played all season at his normal elite levels.
This series will be no slouch. The Houston Rockets will have to rid themselves of some of the offensive woes they featured in the first two rounds. They’ll have to play elite defense to cover all of the Warriors’ weapons.
Game one of this series will take place on Monday, May 14th. You check out the rest of the schedule here. Even though these two teams have a storied history, this time will be different. This time, the path to the NBA goes through Houston.
However, today, today is Chris Paul’s day. He can finally, officially shrug off all of the haters. He made it to a conference finals. And, he did it on a historic night for himself. His 41 points were a playoff-high and his 20 fourth-quarter points a career high for a quarter. Here’s to you, Chris Paul.