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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Chris Paul

Chris Paul, James Harden reportedly had tense back-and-forth after Game 6 loss

Chris Paul Rockets

The Houston Rockets endured a disappointing end to their season this year, one that left their star players in a verbal back-and-forth, according to a report.

Houston feel to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs for the second year in a row. The difference is they lost a round and game earlier than last year, and they went down in Games 5 and 6 despite Golden State not having Kevin Durant.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania wrote about the team’s status entering the offseason and noted the tension between Chris Paul and James Harden during and after the Game 6 loss.

From Charania’s article:

“But Harden and Paul had tense moments with one another throughout Game 6, culminating in a verbal back-and-forth postgame that went into the locker room, sources with knowledge of the situation told The Athletic. Sources said the verbal exchange between Harden and Paul was regarding the ball distribution throughout Game 6. By the time the remainder of the locker room was ready to talk, Paul and Harden had gone their separate ways, with Paul swiftly making his way to the postgame podium.”

None of this should be surprising. Two teammates were arguing/in disagreement about sharing the ball following a season-ending loss in the playoffs against the Warriors? This probably happens in every locker room.

This wouldn’t concern me if I were Houston. The Game 6 loss hurt them as we know. The questions about how they run their offense moving forward are somewhat valid, but the Rockets don’t need to make big-sweeping changes. They seem to know that, evidenced by their plans to extend Mike D’Antoni.

H/T CBS Sports

Rockets owner backs aging Chris Paul

Chris Paul Rockets

Chris Paul has been the target of criticism from many people evaluating the Rockets’ future, but the point guard still has the support of ownership.

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta spoke with the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen on Thursday and expressed his support for CP3 despite the criticism the point guard has received for posting his worst statistical season.

“You can’t just look at Chris’ statistics, assists and points,” Fertitta said, via Feigen. “Chris does things all through the game to disrupt the other team. Chris is smart. I think Chris has a lot in him to contribute in the next couple years. He’s got savvy and intelligence that helps the team.”

Paul’s 15.6 points and 41.9 percent field goal shooting this season were the lowest marks of his career. Outside of Game 6 against the Warriors, he didn’t look like a special player during the playoffs.

Paul is 34, has only played in 58 regular season games each of the last two seasons, has chronic hamstring/leg issues, and he is signed to make $123 million over the next three seasons. We just don’t share the same optimism about his future role with the franchise as Fertitta does.

Steph Curry seemingly responds to Chris Paul kicking him off court

Chris Paul and the Rockets say the reports of Stephen Curry being kicked off the Toyota Center court before Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals have been overblown, but Curry’s reaction seems to indicate there was more to it than the Houston side is letting on.

Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic reports that Warriors team manager Eric Housen booked some time from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Toyota Center court prior to Game 4 so Curry could work on his shot. When Paul found out about the practice session, he supposedly showed up and gave Curry the boot so he could work on his own shot — even after Curry offered to stick to one half of the court.

Paul and others with the Rockets have disputed that Curry was kicked off the court. Houston developmental coach Irv Roland told Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle on Saturday that there were no issues and that Paul and Curry even joked with one another.

“When we finally went out there, Stephen cracked a joked with Chris. Chris said ‘let him shoot.’ It wasn’t like it was a confrontation. ‘Let him shoot. Let him finish what he’s doing,’” Roland recalled. “We didn’t kick him off the court. We didn’t even say anything. I wanted to know how long he was shooting because I had Chris with Michael Frazier and James Harden coming right after Chris. I wanted to know how long he was going to be before James left the house.”

It certainly would not be a surprise if the media blew the story out of proportion, but how do you explain Curry’s reaction after the Warriors closed on the series with a win in Game 6 Friday night? As he made his way to the locker room following his 33-point explosion in the second half, Curry triumphantly said, “Kick me off the court again, boy!” Draymond Green got in on the fun by shouting, “Kick him off! Kick him off!”

There were more than a few heated moments during the series between Golden State and Houston, so perhaps Curry used whatever incident took place before Game 4 as motivation. Even if the situation did unfold the way the Rockets claim, Curry clearly held onto it.

Watch: Did Kevin Durant intentionally elbow Chris Paul in face?

We have seen plenty of chippy play in the Western Conference semifinal series between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, and the result in many of those situations has been technical fouls. Kevin Durant should consider himself lucky that he did not pick one up for a cheap shot on Chris Paul during Game 4 Monday night.

After he left his feet for a rebound on a shot that ended up going in, Durant appeared to look right at Paul and then swing his elbow in the direction of CP3’s face. It’s hard to tell if he actually made contact, but Paul grabbed his face and went down.

Many felt it was an acting job from Paul, who is certainly no stranger to flopping. Even if Durant did miss with the elbow, it looked like he knew exactly what he was doing with the way he looked at Paul first before throwing his left arm at him.

No foul was called, but the NBA could look at the play. Since the video doesn’t clearly show if Durant actually elbowed Paul or only tried to, it seems unlikely that he’ll face any disciplinary action over it.

Watch: Chris Paul celebrates after Rockets finally get landing spot foul call

Chris Paul Rockets

The Houston Rockets finally got a foul call to go their way on a landing spot play, and Chris Paul couldn’t believe it.

At the end of the third quarter of Tuesday’s Western Conference semifinals Game 2 between the Rockets and Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant was called for fouling James Harden on a 3-point shot.

Harden was sent to the free throw line and made all three of his attempts. More importantly, CP3 was so excited about the call that he actually celebrated:

Paul was lucky he wasn’t called for a technical foul for the sarcastic display. A few other players weren’t as lucky; Nene and Draymond Green were called for double techs after getting tangled up fighting under the basket after a free throw.

If you’re wondering why CP3 celebrated, it’s because the Rockets did not get foul calls on these plays in Game 1, leading to much frustration from the team.

Chris Paul not suspended for confrontation with official

Chris Paul Rockets

Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul escaped a suspension for confronting an official late in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

The NBA announced Monday that Paul would be fined $35,000 for his actions, but there would be no further punishment for the Houston point guard.

There was some speculation that Paul made contact with an official late in Game 1 during a dispute that got him a second technical and an ejection. Paul had made it quite clear that he felt any contact was incidental, and the league clearly agreed with him. He’ll be lighter in the wallet, but will be free to play in Game 2.

Chris Paul not concerned with potential suspension

Chris Paul Rockets

Chris Paul doesn’t think he’s in any danger of being suspended for Game 2 of the Houston Rockets’ series against the Golden State Warriors.

Paul was ejected late in Houston’s Game 1 loss amid suggestions that he made contact with an official. The point guard said Monday that he isn’t worried about a suspension, believing that any contact was incidental and not worthy of further punishment.

Paul seems correct on this, but a potential suspension was the subject of some debate after the game. The NBA will have the last word here, but the incident simply didn’t seem serious enough to warrant any further discipline.