How much did the Houston Rockets miss Chris Paul in the last two games of the Western Conference Finals? So much that even the player who took on a bigger role in his absence believe’s CP3’s injury was the difference in the series.
Following Houston’s loss in Game 7 on Monday, Eric Gordon boldly stated that the Rockets would be heading to the Finals if Paul didn’t suffer a hamstring injury.
“It sucks because you know you could win this series if we just had one more playmaker,” he said, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “If we had Chris, if he was out there, we’d have been playing on Thursday. It’s just tough.”
Gordon scored 23 points in Game 7, but he and his teammates shot historically bad from beyond the arc. Gordon connected on just 2-of-12 3-point attempts, and the Rockets were 7-of-44 as a team. There was one stretch where they went about 24 minutes of game time without hitting a single 3-pointer.
Houston took sizable leads into halftime of Game 6 and Game 7, but Mike D’Antoni noted how Paul’s leadership was missed in the second half of each of those games.
“That’s what C.P. was so good at in two [of the] games we won,” the Rockets coach said. “They’d make a little run, he’d hit a 3. They make another run, and he makes another play. And you have to have those momentum changers and stoppers, and the last two games, we didn’t have them.”
The Rockets had plenty of chances even without Paul, which is something their general manager alluded to on Monday night. Still, you have to think CP3 could have at least helped stave off some of those huge Golden State runs. As for whether or not he would have been the difference in the series, we will never know.