Sunday 17th June 2018,
The Hoop Doctors

Mike D’Antoni: Chris Paul is ‘Worried’ About Hamstring Injury He Suffered in Rockets’ Game 5 Win

Mike D’Antoni: Chris Paul is ‘Worried’ About Hamstring Injury He Suffered in Rockets’ Game 5 Win

Chris Paul

As far as the pivotal Western Conference Finals victories go, the Houston Rockets’ Game 5 win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night ended on a pretty somber note. Sure, the Rockets are up 3-2 in the series, one win away from knocking off the reigning champs and earning a trip to the NBA Finals. But their position might have come at the cost of Chris Paul’s help.

Paul needed to leave the floor inside 30 seconds to play of the fourth quarter due to a right hamstring injury. He did not return. And afterward, head coach Mike D’Antoni did little to quell concern, offering the following update, per the Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds:

Unsettling still, D’Antoni already seemed to have a plan in mind for how the Rockets would adjust for Game 6 if Paul is unable to play, per The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears:

Should it come as any consolation to Rockets fans, Paul sounded a bit more optimistic himself later on:

Losing Paul for Game 6 would be a disaster. Yes, disaster. He’s been the Rockets’ best player for this series. James Harden has missed his last 20 three-pointers and been generally cold from the floor through and through. Paul has scrapped and clawed with his defense while putting together some okay-to-good offensive performances.

In Game 5 specifically, Paul was great. He put the Rockets’ offense on his back for long stretches, dropping 20 points and six assists without committing a turnover. Eric Gordon came to play in this one too, but he’s not a suitable replacement for Paul. Though there are worse alternatives, D’Antoni has been running his rotation seven, maybe eight, deep. Removing one of those players from the equation opens the door for fatigue and relative lineup quandaries.

Some will argue the Rockets should just bench Paul for Game 6 no matter what. Let him rest, and take your chances at home in Game 7. Maybe they consider that. Maybe he’s fine. Maybe the choice is made for them. Whatever the case, the Rockets can now both taste the NBA Finals and an overwhelming sense of panic, two things that aren’t supposed to go hand in hand.

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