After losing Chris Paul to a hamstring injury in Game 5, the Rockets struggled on offense. Eric Gordon thinks Houston would’ve defeated the Warriors if Paul was still healthy.
The Houston Rockets gave everything they had, but it still wasn’t enough.
Chris Paul’s hamstring injury in the final seconds of Game 5 was the nail in the coffin for Houston’s season. Winning a closeout game in Golden State without Paul was nearly impossible, but Houston had a solid chance at defeating the defending champions at Toyota Center.
The Rockets kept their turnovers low, but they just couldn’t buy a basket. Golden State got hot in the second half and Houston went cold, scoring just 38 points in the third and fourth quarters. The Rockets shot just 7-for-44 from the 3-point line, missing an NBA playoff record 27 straight attempts. Houston also shot just 13-for-22 from the free throw line, which is completely inexcusable.
Houston shot themselves into the summer in Game 7. They relied a little too much on the 3-point shot. Yes, its apart of Houston’s strategy, but if 10 of those shots are taken in the paint instead of behind the arc then it could have been a different ball game.
When Golden State rallied in the third quarter, Houston missed the calm presence of their emotional leader, Chris Paul. According to Eric Gordon, the Rockets would have won Game 7 if Chris Paul wasn’t watching the game from the sidelines, via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.
“If he was out there, we would be playing on Thursday.”
We know the kind of impact that Paul makes for Houston on both sides of the ball. His defense on Stephen Curry could’ve prevented him from nailing seven 3-pointers. Not to mention, his ability to make mid range jumpers and create opportunities for others would’ve been a welcome addition to Houston’s offense.
Health plays a major factor in winning championships. Winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy comes down to mostly talent mixed with a bit of luck. The Rockets had the talent, but an unlucky injury all but shattered their chances to win the 2018 NBA championship.