James Harden may have been the MVP of the NBA and the Houston Rockets, but Chris Paul was the heart and soul of Houston last year.
“If Chris Paul didn’t get hurt last year in the playoffs maybe the Rockets would’ve went to the championship,” NBA insider, Chris Sheridan told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
That’s a valid argument. Worth noting also, Paul suffered a hamstring injury tonight in a game against the Miami Heat.
As for last season, Harden, Paul and the Rockets held a 3-2 lead entering Game 6 on the road. Had they won Game 7, they would have advanced to their first NBA Finals since the 1994-95 season.
However, it didn’t quite happen that way.
Paul, a nine-time NBA All-Star missed Game 7 of the series on Houston’s home floor due to a strained hamstring and as a result, the Rockets lost Game 7 by nine points.
Houston Rockets assistant coach, Irv Roland weighed in on it this summer via Scoop B Radio
Per Heavy’s Jeff Smith:
Although they were outscored 33-15 in the third quarter. Houston wrapped up the game 7-of-44 from behind the arc, an area where they thrived during the season, making a league-high 1,256 three-pointers (215 more than the No. 2 team).
Houston wrapped up the game 7-of-44 from behind the arc, an area where they thrived during the season, making a league-high 1,256 three-pointers (215 more than the No. 2 team).
“Chris Paul doesn’t play, we miss 27 straight threes,” Houston Rockets head coach, Irv Roland told me via Scoop B Radio over the summer.
“I’ve never seen you play basketball, but I would bet that if I put you on the basketball court, you’re going to make at least one of those 27. That just doesn’t happen, especially for a team like ours. All that said, we only lose by nine. You put Chris Paul on the floor, I’d have to venture off to say that we win that basketball game.”
The Warriors advanced and ended up beating a LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in last year’s NBA Finals.
The Houston Rockets meanwhile have had it rough. It all began with Houston not re-signing defensive anchor, Trevor Ariza during the off-season.
Houston was also a top 10 team defensively with Ariza’s 1.5 steals and 3.9 defensive rebounds helped that team immensely. Ariza ended up signing a one-year $15 million deal with the Phoenix Suns.
“I don’t think they gave Ariza enough credit for what he did for that team.” former Houston and seven-time NBA Champion told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
The Rockets claimed Carmelo Anthony off waivers and that didn’t work out either.
The third overall pick in the 2003 draft, Anthony’s last appearance with the Houston Rockets came in a blowout loss to Oklahoma City on Nov. 8 when he had two points and five rebounds.
“Something had happened that they don’t want out yet,” NBA insider, Chris Sheridan told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
As for Chris Paul, entering Thursday nights game against the Miami Heat, CP3 was averaging 16 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists per contest. Paul is shooting a 41.6 percent field goal percentage, while also shooting 35.8 percent from downtown.
He did not return to Thursday nights game.