The pessimism around the team that he could go turned out to be well founded.
Rockets’ coach Mike D’Antoni confirmed pregame that Chris Paul will not play for Houston in Game 7 Monday night.
“He couldn’t explode, he couldn’t push off it,” D’Antoni said.
This is, obviously, a massive blow to the Rockets.
Paul is the secondary shot creator, a stabilizing influence with the ball, and a quality defender at the point — all of which the Rockets will miss. Throughout the playoffs, the Rockets are 7.7 points per 100 possessions better when Paul is on the floor, with that impact felt mostly on defense. In this series, the Rockets are 8.3 points per 100 possessions better with Paul on the court, with the effects felt deeply on both sides of the court.
Paul injured his hamstring on a shot with less than a minute to go in Game 5. It was a fluky, unlucky play. But winning a title takes luck (even if you’re MJ you need to catch some breaks) and luck has not followed CP3 into the postseason. Even Steve Kerr felt bad for Paul.
The Rockets can still beat the Warriors without Paul, but their margin for error is almost nothing.