Chris Paul Reaches the Conference Finals:
The Houston Rockets are headed to their first Western Conference Finals since 2015. But more importantly, it’s Chris Paul’s first appearance in the conference finals. Paul is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, but he consistently failed to get past the Second Round. In 2015, his Los Angeles Clippers held a 3-1 series advantage over the Rockets, before completely collapsing following Game 5. The Clippers lost three straight games and Paul’s chance of getting to the conference finals vanished. Fast forward to last summer, the Clippers traded Paul to Houston and instantly made the Rockets one of the best teams in the league. Now here we are, and Paul is going to his first West finals.
It was only right that his team had a 3-1 lead over the Utah Jazz, but this time were able to hang on. Paul was a huge part of that, especially in the series-clinching Game 5. Paul was an absolute monster. He totaled 41 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds. James Harden wasn’t himself, as he only scored 18 points, four assists, and four rebounds. The Rockets have a chance – probably the best chance of anyone in the NBA – to upset the Warriors. And they’ll finally get the chance to do so. Paul is going to be a huge part of that going forward. In his inaugural conference finals, he’ll be tasked with guarding two of the best guards in the league: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Not to mention that Golden State is looking for their third championship in four years. They are the epitome of the NBA right now, and Houston will get a shot at dethroning the defending champions. Houston will have home court advantage, which could help a lot. In the past, the Warriors have had the Rockets’ number. Golden State is 8-2 in the playoffs in the last three years over Houston. That might be changing, though. In the regular season, the Rockets won two of the three games against the Warriors. Paul has finally gotten the monkey off of his back, and has clinched a spot in his first conference finals, but he’s not ready to bow out just yet. Paul wants to get to the NBA Finals.
Photo Credit: Houston Chronicle.