With the 2019 NBA Playoffs approaching, the Houston Rockets are finally healthy, at least for the most part. With a few players sidelined on and off for various reasons late in the year, it’s expected they’ll head into the postseason very close to 100 percent. This was also the case last year through the first two rounds of the playoffs and also five Western Conference Finals games.
That is until Chris Paul’s infamous hamstring injury in Game 5 against the Golden State Warriors. It was a setback which some people believe derailed Houston’s championship aspirations.
Paul’s injury occurred during a 98-94 win which extended the Rockets’ series lead to 3-2 with Game 6 set to be played back in Houston. Unfortunately, Paul missed each of the next two games and the Warriors went on to make an impressive comeback and advance to the 2019 NBA Finals.
But just shy of one year later, the potential for a playoff rematch against Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the defending champions is a very real possibility.
I spoke to Rockets guard Eric Gordon about whether revenge was still on his mind after the tough postseason exit. More specifically, if he and the Rockets actually want to meet the Warriors again when the postseason gets underway. And his answer was direct and honest, but also gave a tip of the cap to the Warriors and their talented group.
“Well yeah, for sure; you know, every year is a different year, but we definitely want to earn our chances to take on the best team … which, you know, it’s them. I definitely would love to meet them again in the playoffs, then just kind of see what happens from there.” Gordon told me.
Eric Gordon Heaps Praise on Rockets Coaches, Teammates
Gordon and the Rockets are wrapping up the regular season and jockeying for position in the Western Conference standings. And following a season which featured his own injury and various teammates missing extended time, he had plenty of positive things to say about this year’s team.
“We’ve just been consistently winning ever since I’ve been here. I’ve always wanted to be on a championship, kind of contender team, and we’ve done that. But winning … you know, coaches make things easier on the players, and players … we have so much talent on the team and make one another better.” Gordon said.
The 30-year-old guard goes on to reference the 2016-17 season, stating that “nobody expected us to make the playoffs,” but cites how they went on to earn the No. 3 seed.
Gordon is in his third season with the Rockets and through the first 63 games has averaged 16.2 points per game after tallying a mark of 18.0 ppg last year. He’s logged his most minutes per game since the 2015-16 season at 32.2 and he’s likely to see even more when the playoffs roll around.
Rockets’ Chances to Face Warriors in 2019 NBA Playoffs
Heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings, Houston holds a 49-28 record, good for the No. 4 seed if the playoffs began today. If they were to hold in that spot and not surpass the Portland Trail Blazers, who own the same record, there’s the potential for a second-round date with the Warriors.
Golden State owns the No. 1 seed at this moment while boasting a 52-24 mark which is the third-best in the NBA. They’ll need to hold off the Denver Nuggets to keep homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, but it’s a very real possibility.
If Gordon and the Rockets want their shot at revenge and an opportunity to take down the NBA’s defending champion, it may happen within the next month or so.