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How Chris Paul’s Rockets infuriated Stephen Curry’s Warriors


Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets - Game Three Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

This is Part II of a series exploring why Chris Paul coming to the Golden State Warriors is completely surreal, as Paul has gone from Dub Nation antagonist to apparently the missing piece?

We discussed the Clippers-era under CP3 being ended by the Dubs, now let’s talk about his short but fascinating Houston run.

The Houston Rockets were putting the finishing touches on taking a 3-2 lead on the Golden State Warriors dynasty, so close to prematurely killing the greatest superteam of the modern era. CP3 was even giving Curry a taste of his own medicine, daggering him with an impossible triple and shimmying in his face.

And then Paul suffered misfortune, blowing out his hamstring in the final moments as the Rockets secured the win.

The Rockets would go on to lose the next two games without their star player, despite getting double-digit leads in both Game 6 and Game 7. That final game was notable for the Rockets missing 27 straight threes lololol. Surely they needed CP3’s floor generalship.

That’s when the Rockets basically tried to wave off the results of the contest saying that they would have won if CP3 had been healthy...while completely not acknowledging that Andre Iguodala missed the final four games of the contest with injury and he’s a freakin’ Finals MVP. Paul even demanded that the teams RUN IT BACK!

I’ll never forget Houston fans from The Dream Shake blog asking me a question about what woulda happened if Paul was healthy:

OK, since you started with the CP3 question, I’ll ask one of my own: Do you believe the series goes differently in 2018 if Chris Paul is 100% healthy after the Rockets claim a 3-2 series lead?

100% healthy? That deep in the playoffs? Yes, the series would be different because we’d have to test CP3 for steroid use.

But in the spirit of the question... the Warriors wouldn’t be a dynasty if they couldn’t overcome series deficits. You may recall they once overcame a 3-1 deficit to the Oklahoma City Thunder (who at the time employed the unstoppable Kevin Durant). I have no reason to believe they wouldn’t do the same last season, no matter who was in a Houston jersey.

As the great coach Rudy Tomjanovich once said, “Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion.”

But that’s just my opinion. Let’s go over to the source, CP3 himself.

Funny enough the two teams met again the next year to settle it, and Kevin Durant got hurt in Game 5, as the Warriors took an extremely precarious 3-2 lead. The next game was in Houston, and the Rockets had an ample opportunity to do exactly what the Dubs did the previous year: come from behind against a wounded opponent.

Apparently Paul kicked Curry off the practice court before that pivotal game? That led to one of the gutsiest wins we’ve seen in Warriors history as they prevailed over the Rockets.

KICK ME OFF THE COURT NOW! Here’s CP3’s reflection on that rivalry as a Rocket:

CP3 and Harden would eventually disintegrate comically:

A report from ESPN’s Tim McMahon depicted the foundation of the conflict:

The roots of the issues between Harden and Paul, according to team sources, are differences in preferred playing styles and personality. . .

. . . Paul noticeably lost a step last season, as evidenced by analytics and the eye test. Paul pushed for more plays and sets in the Houston offense, more screening and deception, despite Harden being in the process of putting together a historically dominant individual offensive season.

”Chris wants to coach James,” says a source familiar with the stars’ dynamic. “James looks at him like, ‘You can’t even beat your man. Just shut up and watch me.’”

According to sources, Paul was also frustrated by what he perceived as Harden’s tendency to ignore unglamorous details that impact winning — such as moving when he gives up the ball to help spacing — and wasn’t shy about expressing those concerns.

And with that, the CP3 run in Houston was demolished by Curry and the gang.


Do you like Chris Paul as a Warrior?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    Absolutely, it’s always great to have a living legend on your team!
    (397 votes)
  • 28%
    Uhhhh nah we didn’t need this guy, and especially not in exchange for the potential of Jordan Poole!
    (156 votes)
553 votes total Vote Now

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