During the NBA offseason, we had tons of great trades and free agent signing. We had Paul George and Carmelo Anthony both get traded to Oklahoma City to team up with the MVP Russell Westbrook. Gordon Hayward signed a 4 year $128 million deal with the Celtics. We even had Paul Millsap come all the way to Denver from Atlanta. The one move that people questioned the most was Chris Paul coming to Houston to come play with MVP runner-up James Harden.
Both guards being as ball dominant as ever, no one could have predicted what was to come. Where ever Chris Paul played he was the one with the ball in his hands’ majority of the time to make plays for himself and other guys. Whether that was in New Orleans or Los Angeles. While James Harden on the other hand just came off his best season averaging 29.1 points 8.1 rebounds and a league-best 11.2 assists while leading the Rockets to a respectable 55-27 record. How were the 2 going to handle sharing the ball?
Chris Paul’s time in LA was very interesting. He had good wing scorers, but he never another person he could pass the ball to and let facilitate for others. Same thing goes for Harden he has great catch and shoot scorers all around him but not another distributor. These two were made for each other. Once the game starts they come out together and take turns with the ball handling duty. Around the 4 minute mark, Mike D’antoni takes out Paul and let’s harden have free roam of the ball and the playmaking duties. Once harden comes out then its Chris Paul’s turn making plays and to end the half they take turns once again. A brilliant set up.
To everyone’s surprise, the twosome of Harden and Chris Paul worked out just fine. Of course, it took some time to get used to, but now it’s pretty clear this was a great signing. Harden led the team in scoring and in assists with 30.4 points and 8.8 assists. This will be a run to remember for Chris Paul who has yet to reach the Conference Finals in his 13 year NBA career. He has had postseason disappointment year after year and this seems like it finally his year.
Everyone in the NBA knows the Golden State Warriors are the top dawg and in order to be at the top of the NBA the Rockets have to go through them. This will not be an easy task by any means. Chris Paul and James Harden are going to have to play 4 close to perfect games in order to beat this super team. Harden has had his season ended by the Warriors in previous seasons and is extremely motivated in getting his revenge.
There is a lot of hype going into the Rockets and Warriors playoff series coming up and I don’t question it. Rockets vs Warriors would be the best offensive matchup in modern NBA postseason history. Since turnovers became official in 1973-74, there never has been a playoff series pitting teams that both finished with an offensive rating of 112 or better. In other words, there have never been 2 offensively great teams like this to face each other in a series ever.
In order to beat the Rockets, it’s going to take a full teams effort. The two captains in Harden and Paul are going to have to lead this team like they never lead before and play the series of their lives. The shooters are going to have to knock down a good percentage of their 3 pointers and that mainly relies on Trevor Ariza, PJ Tucker, and Eric Gordon all with a combined playoff average of 36.3% from beyond the arc. The wing defenders are going to contain Durant and not make sure he gets comfort bale and get in a groove. And most importantly Clint Capela is going to have bring the same intensity and fire he plays with.
Off the court, these two have also connected doing a number of State Farm commercials together. Whether it’s participating in a bowling tournament together or going to Chris Paul’s house to watch their friends do a dunk contest the two are clearly taking a liking to each other and that’s going to translate to on the court as well.
The sky is the limit for this team. The biggest threat standing in their ways is the basketball bully that resides in Golden State. People already are counting them out and claiming the Warriors to win the championship again, but they have to get through Houston first, and it won’t be easy.