After an injury forced him to sit out in Game 6 and Game 7, Chris Paul took the loss to the Warriors very hard.
After every season there are always “what ifs” for a lot of teams around the NBA. The biggest what if in this postseason so far has involved Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets.
Paul has had bad postseason luck throughout his career. As a member of the Clippers, he missed the first two games of a second-round series in 2015 against the Rockets, eventually resulting in a Game 7 loss. In 2016, both Paul and Blake Griffin suffered season ending injuries in Game 4 against the Trail Blazers. As expected, the Blazers won the next two games and finished the series in six. In 2017, Griffin suffered another season ending injury in Game 3 against the Utah Jazz. The Jazz won in seven despite a stellar series from Paul.
This year, Paul injured his hamstring in Game 5, and he missed Game 6 and Game 7. A Grade 2 hamstring injury usually sidelines players for weeks, so Paul just didn’t have enough time to recover. The Warriors took advantage of the shorthanded Rockets by winning the next two games and taking the series in seven.
Daryl Morey told the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen that Chris Paul took the loss the hardest.
“He took it the hardest, I thought, because he knew if he hadn’t had the unfortunate injury, he’s dragging us the last (way to the Finals), He’s been there before at those moments and got injured sometimes. Yeah, he took it hard. But you know what, he’ll be back. He’ll be back 100 percent and we’re ready to go.”
The Rockets held double-digit leads in the first half of Game 6 and Game 7. Unfortunately, Golden State absolutely owned the third quarter in both games and Houston couldn’t maintain their leads.
Eric Gordon told reporters that the Rockets would’ve defeated the Warriors had Chris Paul been healthy. Houston took a 3-2 series lead before Paul’s injury and they had all of the momentum going forward.
Of course, the Rockets did have a window to win Game 7, but their shots just weren’t falling. If Chris Paul was on the floor, Houston would have undoubtedly scored more points. Would it have been enough to win the game? Probably, but we’ll never know.