Houston Rockets are moving into Game 7 of the Western Conference finals in great confidence. However, they want to keep all their options open before the game. Mike D’ Antoni wants to keep the star guard Chris Paul’s status for the game a secret. He suggests that the player’s entry into the game will be decided in the final moments only. This could be because of the hamstring injury he suffered in Game 5 playing against the Golden State Warriors.
D’Antoni said, “If I get the nod from the trainers, Chris and the doctors, then he’ll be ready to go. Probably if any of those three disagree, he’s probably not going. So, I think it’s a game-time decision, whatever it is, probably doubtful or however they listed it or questionable. They will eventually test it and see if there’s any possibility whatsoever.”
He also suggested that that the player’s recovery is going very good. However, he did suggest that nine-time All-star player has not tested his hamstring by working out or running. It is highly likely that they don’t want to take a chance with the player’s fitness yet. The coach said, “He’s just been getting treatment and trying to make sure it calms down and everything. I would think the doctors and trainers are working on him 24 hours a day almost. They will tomorrow morning re-evaluate it again, probably tomorrow afternoon again.”
During the regular season, the Rockets went 15-9 playing without Paul. When the team played with emerging center Clint Capela and probable MVP candidate James Harden, they averaged at 15-6. However, in Game 6 of the series, they could not capitalize on an early 17-point lead.
This is the first time that Paul has entered the finals of the Western Conference. This is also his first season with the Rockets. He has averaged at 21.1 points. He also managed 5.8 per game during the playoffs. He was also the hero of the last two wins of the Houston team where he averaged 23.5 points in the game and helped the team register a classic comeback in the fourth quarter of Game 4.
The coach said that the team isn’t planning to attempt gamesmanship by keeping his status a secret and said, “We’re not going to be coy with it. As soon as we know, we’ll say it, but we might not know until the afternoon [when we] see how it goes or he tests it out. But we’ll have to kind of play it by ear for now.”
During his stint at the playoffs, he managed to outdo Steph Curry as well. Most experts believe that Game 7 will be a clash of the legacies of both the teams. Not only this, if the team is able to win Game 7, it could finally bring some validation to the coach who has been understated most of this season. It could also be another great win for James Harden, who is being touted as the MVP candidate for the season, owing to his stellar performances.