- Chris Paul appeared to suffer a hamstring injury in the final minute of the Houston Rockets’ Game 5 win over the Golden State Warriors and will miss Game 6.
- Paul has been crucial in the Rockets’ past two wins, and they may be forced to try to close out the series with him ailing or not available at all.
- It is also cruel as Paul has never made the Finals before and now has to fight an injury with the Rockets knocking on the door.
In the final minute of the Houston Rockets’ Game 5 win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, Chris Paul appeared to injure his hamstring on a drive.
As the Warriors came down on the other end, eventually missing an open three-pointer, Paul struggled to his feet, hobbled around, then had to be taken out of the game.
On Friday, the Rockets announced that Paul will miss Game 6.
Chris Paul suffers an injury late in game 5 pic.twitter.com/VLGm7MXklq
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) May 25, 2018
The timing couldn’t be crueler, however. Paul has led the Rockets to two straight wins to help give them a 3-2 edge over the Warriors. In the past two fourth quarters, he’s hit several tough, gusty shots over tight defence to give the Rockets a boost when they needed one. His defensive tenacity has also been crucial; in the Rockets’ switch-everything scheme, Paul has even given the 7-foot Kevin Durant trouble with his strength and quick hands at times.
While James Harden has struggled, Paul has assumed the load of the go-to star. A nine-time All-Star who had never made it past the conference semifinals in the postseason, Paul now has his Rockets knocking on the door of the NBA Finals. Now the Rockets will have to go on without him for at least one game.
“If he’s there, great, good for him,” Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said on Thursday. “If he isn’t, it’s time for somebody else to step up.”
The Rockets have a one-game cushion and the advantage of playing a potential Game 7 at home. But trying to close out this Warriors team without Paul will be a monumental challenge for the Rockets.
The Warriors are the toughest team the Rockets will face in the postseason. They have them against the ropes in a way few people thought was possible. To lose Paul at this moment is brutal.
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