Chris Paul, ailing with a strained hamstring, missed Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors and he is danger of missing Game 7. There is growing speculation that the Houston Rockets’ star will be absent in an all-or-nothing showdown on Monday night.
A tweet from a renowned sports doctor, Dr. David J. Chao, may have revealed the Rockets’ worst fears.
Dr. Chao, a former NFL doctor, suggests that Chris Paul’s injury is not considered serious. However, Dr. Chao eliminated any thoughts of Chris Paul being anywhere near 100 percent for Game 7.
The Rockets played well in the first half of Game 6 versus the Warriors. The Rockets got off to an inspired start with Chris Paul sidelined. Houston made seven of 11 three-point shots in the first quarter, building a lead as big as 17 points.
Nevertheless, the Rockets got tired playing without Chris Paul and wound up losing in blowout fashion to the Warriors 115-86, as reported by Yahoo Sports.
Costly turnovers and wildly missed jump shots doomed the Houston Rockets. Without Chris Paul, the Rockets began to look disorganized in the third quarter.
Chris Paul’s ability to set the tone offensively was missing. James Harden handled the point guard duties, but he wore down over time.
There were moments when James Harden could have used another facilitator on the floor. It is likely that Harden’s game was hampered the most in Chris Paul’s absence.
With Chris Paul saddled, the basketball stopped moving after awhile.
Most of the Houston Rockets’ players struggled getting into their normal spots. It appeared that each tried desperately to take on the role of a hero in Chris Paul’s absence. The Rockets’ success was short-lived.
Think they missed Chris Paul?— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 27, 2018
The Rockets had 26 assist opportunities in Game 6, their fewest in a postseason game this year.
Paul was averaging 12 per game this series. pic.twitter.com/3T3Jhr0Q40
With a healthy Chris Paul, the Houston Rockets probably don’t panic as their lead whittled down. Also, Paul’s defense on the Warrior’s shooters would have helped. Chances are, however, that the Warriors would have won even with Chris Paul on the floor.
The focus will now shift to Chris Paul and the status of his hamstring sprain for Game 7. Little may be known about the health of the Rockets’ star until the minutes leading up to the Game 7 tip-off.
Mike D’Antoni says Chris Paul will play “as soon as he’s able to.” Doesn’t sound overly optimistic about him being available for Game 7.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) May 26, 2018
There will be a small glimmer of hope for Chris Paul to play in Game 7, however, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni is not optimistic about it. Chris Paul will undergo more treatment in hopes that he can give it a try on Monday.
The worst-case scenario for the Houston Rockets is if they have to play without Paul again. If that happens, the Rockets will have to show better composure while trying to eliminate the defending champions.