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Houston Rockets early season review: Chris Paul

Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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In the summer, Chris Paul signed a four-year extension to remain with the Rockets following a very successful first season that saw him will Houston past the Jazz, and saw him dominate in Game 5 against the Warriors to help give the Rockets a 3-2 lead.

Chris Paul’s spectacular performance in Game 5 came with a price, a hamstring, which sidelined him for the final two games of the series, and left the Rockets unable to finish off the Warriors.

Coming into the new season, expectations were sky high.

Following a dominating 65-17 regular season, Houston was the exact opposite to begin this season as they got off to a 1-5 start and cut ties with Carmelo Anthony after just 10 games.

Chris Paul was a big reason for Houston’s slow start but has also been a big reason the Rockets have been able to turn it around in the month of November.

From suspensions to shooting slumps, let’s take a look at the negatives and the positives for CP3.

Negatives

The Month of October

Chris Paul only played four games in the entire month of October due to a suspension for the infamous altercation with Rajon Rondo.

The suspension, however, was just the beginning to an ominous October that was to follow.

For the month, Paul was shooting a frightful 39.3 percent from the field, 34.8 percent from three, and was a dreadful -12.5 for the Rockets when on the floor.

To add to the slow start on the court, Paul was also reported, by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, to have been nursing an elbow injury which may have contributed to Paul’s low shooting numbers.

On top of all that, James Harden was also sidelined after a game against the Jazz, with coincidentally a hamstring injury, that forced him to miss three games which left Paul with most of the burden of being the Rockets number one option as well as being the main orchestrator of the offense.

Positives

The Month of November

A flip in the calendar is exactly what Houston needed as in the month of November, the Rockets are 8-2, with a blockbuster double-digit victory coming against Golden State.

Chris Paul is shooting a field goal percentage of 46.3, 39.3 percent from three, and is a +5.2 when on the floor for the Rockets in the month of November.

Paul has begun to look more like himself in the games in November as he has once again exploited defenders in the mid-range, which he missed an uncharacteristic amount of early in the season.

In this table below, Chris Paul’s stats are broken down by every game in the season. When Paul returned from his suspension his field goal shooting percentage was down in the mid to low 30s. Following the game against the Spurs, he has consistently been around 50 percent field goal shooting.

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table

An interesting note, in all of the Rockets losses in which Paul has played in, Paul has had a negative plus/minus and in all of the wins on which Paul has played in, Paul has had a positive plus/minus.

Overall

Chris Paul is still a very important piece to the Rockets, perhaps Houston is even more dependent on him this season than a year ago.

Houston needs Chris Paul to be considered legit contenders, and despite the Rockets slow start to the season, no one has been able to separate in the Western Conference as the Rockets are only 2.5 games from the number one seed.

Next. James Harden is now the third-leading scorer in Rockets history

With the Rockets seeming to be gaining comfort with each other and finding their rhythm, expect Houston to be back among the best in the West soon.

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