The James Harden tour of individual dominance may be coming to an end.
The Houston Rockets expect to have Chris Paul back on Sunday against the Orlando Magic. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon says it’s almost 100 percent that CP3 will return over the weekend.
A source says there is an "almost 100 [percent]" chance that Chris Paul returns Sunday against the Magic. The Rockets managed to go 12-5 in the five weeks that Paul missed with a strained left hamstring.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 26, 2019
Paul has been out since injuring his hamstring on Dec. 20 — his latest in a long line of hamstring injuries. The 33-year-old guard’s absence led James Harden to go crazy offensively. The reigning league MVP has averaged over 44 points per game in January with Paul out.
The Rockets won five in a row after Paul got hurt but have gone 7-5 since. Though Harden’s scoring may go down, he will probably welcome the help carrying the load.
Chris Paul and Daryl Morey took aim at the referees for a horribly blown call in overtime of the Houston Rockets’ win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.
The Rockets came back from down by 20 points early in the second half to win 135-134 in overtime on an improbable James Harden 3-pointer. Harden’s Rockets wouldn’t have even been trailing in the game if not for a horribly blown call.
The refs didn’t call Kevin Durant out of bounds even though he so blatantly was, which allowed him to save a ball and send it to Stephen Curry, who made a shot to break a 132-all tie. Durant even took multiple steps while out of bounds.
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) January 4, 2019
Some NBA officials are not great at this pic.twitter.com/KH3qxWHh2H
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) January 4, 2019
The unbelievably blown call was noted by Paul, who is out with a hamstring injury, and the Rockets’ GM. Both made references to “Bird Box,” a Netflix movie where people wear blindfolds.
So we doin the #BirdBoxChallenge during NBA games now huh
— Chris Paul (@CP3) January 4, 2019
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) January 4, 2019
Joel Embiid also made note of it.
Lmao how do you miss that??????
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) January 4, 2019
There is no excuse for blowing a call that badly. It’s up there for one of the most badly blown calls we’ve seen in a long time, and we’ve seen some truly awful calls.
Chris Paul may not be playing for the Houston Rockets, but he’s finding ways to affect the game.
Paul was called for a technical foul during the second quarter of the Rockets’ game against the Boston Celtics on Thursday night. TNT did not share any details about what Paul had done, but he was seen sarcastically cheering afterwards.
Chris Paul managed to get a technical foul in street clothes pic.twitter.com/eFj1Ad9F08
— ??Ellis the Menace (@DFSBBallGuy) December 28, 2018
The referees seemed to be making a point to Houston. Over the next few minutes, they called Mike D’Antoni for a technical foul for complaining about a call and Clint Capela got a tech for hanging on the rim following a dunk.
Paul injured his hamstring a week ago and is expected to miss at least another week. He’s making sure the refs don’t forget about him even while injured.
Austin Rivers is dispelling the notion of an awkward reunion between him and Chris Paul in Houston.
Speaking with reporters on Monday, the newly-signed Rockets guard said that he had no issues with Paul and that the two worked out together over the summer, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
Austin Rivers said if he and Chris Paul had issues with one another he wouldn't be here. Said they worked out together this off season.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) December 24, 2018
Rivers, who was teammates with Paul on the LA Clippers for three seasons from 2015 to 2017, will provide extra backcourt depth for the Rockets with Paul currently looking at a multi-week absence due to a hamstring strain.
As for the past history between the two, the Clippers of that era were infamous for their dysfunctional locker room environment, and Paul’s exit from LA two summers ago led to some reports that he resented Rivers, among others. Rivers was quick to clear the air over those reports however, and it sounds like the two have long resolved whatever tensions they may have had in the past.
The Houston Rockets have struggled anytime Chris Paul is not in their lineup this year, and it sounds like they are going to have to find ways to win without the star point guard for a significant portion of the regular season.
Paul left Thursday night’s game against the Miami Heat with a hamstring injury, and NBA reporter Peter Vecsey was told by sources that he suffered a Grade 3 tear. CP3 could be held out through the All-Star break, which is in mid-February.
Chris Paul initially out 6-8 weeks. More than likely until after the all star break. MRI will reveal tomorrow if surgery is needed but source says definitely a grade 3 tear. Doesn’t look good. Austin Rivers may have a home.
— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) December 21, 2018
Paul had previously been bothered by a left hamstring injury this season, and he has battled them throughout his career. The Rockets are 16-15 and off to a slow start, and they are 0-5 in games that Paul hasn’t played.
Paul dealt with a hamstring injury that caused him to be unavailable at a crucial time in the playoffs last year, so Houston obviously wants to make sure he is available late in the year. That could mean playing it cautious with him over the next couple of months and trying to somehow stay afloat without him.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Chris Paul is expected to miss time with a hamstring injury.
CP3 left Thursday night’s Houston Rockets game against the Miami Heat in the second quarter due to his hamstring.
The word on Chris Paul: "It'll be some time," Mike D'Antoni said. MRI tomorrow on the left hamstring.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) December 21, 2018
The Rockets lost the game 101-99, with Paul only playing 13 minutes before departing. CP has played 26 of the Rockets’ 31 games this season. He has been bothered by his left hamstring this season. Last season he dealt with a right hamstring injury, which caused him to be unavailable at the end of the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors.
Houston is 0-5 without CP3 in the lineup this season. They’re 0-6 including Thursday’s game where he only played 13 minutes.
Chris Paul’s reputation as a teammate has come into question this week as part of the fallout from his fight with Rajon Rondo.
Days after their fight led to suspensions for both players, Rondo blasted Paul, saying CP3 may have a good reputation in the media but is a “horrible” teammate. At least one Houston Rockets player has Paul’s back.
Gerald Green was asked for his thoughts on Paul ahead of the Rockets’ game against Utah on Wednesday and was nothing but complimentary. Here’s the video (beware – there are a few bad words).
Gerald Green, now an 11-year veteran with 8 NBA stops, on @CP3 as a teammate:
“Chris [Paul] is an awesome teammate. I’ve had a lot of bad teammates before, because I had bounced around, and Chris is probably one of my best teammates that I’ve ever had on a team.” #Rockets pic.twitter.com/3Xcx4TvhDt
— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) October 24, 2018
“Chris is an awesome teammate,” Green said of Paul. “He’s an awesome teammate. As soon as I got here, he’s one of the first guys to welcome me in. … I’ve had a lot of bad teammates before. Chris is probably one of my best teammates I’ve had on a team.”
Green says that Paul would call him after games and that he’ll have CP3’s back on and off the court.
Though Rondo’s comments about Paul being a bad teammate have received attention, they’ve been smacked down somewhat. Rockets GM Daryl Morey even pointed out the irony in Rondo’s comments with a hilarious tweet.