After taking a critical 3-2 lead over the juggernaut Warriors, the Rockets looked to be the first team to dethrone the Warriors in four seasons. Despite this momentum, they received a bad break with Chris Paul’s injury developing. Paul went down late in game five and despite him saying that he felt fine but is out for game six. Going back to Oracle, Golden State are heavy favorites in game six. Will Houston pull off the unexpected and take down the mighty Warriors? The FPC NBA staff answers this pressing question in this roundtable discussion.
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Eduardo Monk Jr.
Chris Paul’s incredible shot making bailed out Houston in game five and it will be undoubtedly missed in game six. This team is definitely going to miss Paul’s tenacious defense and his leadership on the floor. Houston’s attack is entirely predicated on attacking Curry in isolations and Paul’s scoring will be missed. The Warriors pristine offense didn’t run like it normally does due to Houston’s overly physical defense and Paul was near the helm of that. All in all, I doubt this Houston team reaches the finals.
Against any other team, yes. The combined power of Harden and Capela would generally be enough to tango with most teams. However, Golden State is a totally different animal. Without Paul’s star power and output, the Rockets are now woefully outmatched against a team flaunting four all-stars. They barely held on with Paul, sneaking wins by the power of late turnovers alone. But now without Paul’s defensive stalwart to contain curry and his offensive gusto next to harden, the Rockets are officially toast.
The Rockets proved earlier in the year that they could win without Paul, granted the stakes weren’t nearly as high. I think the real question is whether they can defend the way they did and force more iso situations for the Warriors. If they do that they can pull off an upset.
I believe the rockets can win without Chris Paul but James Harden can’t miss 18 straight 3 pointers. He needs to be efficient and put up at least 10 assists as well in order to step up in Chris Paul’s absence. If he is able to be a playmaker, they have a shot. The rockets are actually a +12 and better when James Harden is on the floor and Paul is not. Paul has been unbelievable in this series but neither of them was fantastic in game 5 and they still won. If Harden puts up a triple-double or drops 45+ points then I am not sure the Warriors are going to be able to stop this team. This team is playing united and rallying around a great city.
If the Rockets don’t have Paul, the Warriors will take the series. Harden is not strong enough to carry the Rockets past the Warriors by himself. He and Paul have been an excellent backcourt duo this entire season. They work well together. Paul is the one that gives the Rockets the push, not Harden. If Paul is not able to return for a potential game seven, consider the Warriors the Western Conference champions once again.