The Houston Rockets accomplished one of their goals on Opening Night, serving as spoilers to the Golden State Warriors as they celebrated their 2017 NBA title and got their championship rings. Houston had to rally to beat Golden State, 122-121 (and survive a second-to-late shot by Kevin Durant), and did so while new point guard Chris Paul watched from the bench.
Paul was sidelined down the stretch of the game with left knee soreness and his status for tonight’s game in Sacramento (10 ET, NBA League Pass) remains uncertain. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle has more:
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said Chris Paul played “on one leg” as he played through the soreness left from his bruised left knee.
Paul did not quite go that far and did not know whether he will bounce back in time to play against the Kings on Wednesday, but he did appreciate the luxury of getting a road win against the Warriors when far from his best.
“Man, I got through it,” Paul said. “It was cool. Tough game, but it’s all about getting the win.”
Asked if he would play against the Kings, Paul said, “I don’t know. We’ll figure it out.”
He left the game with 4:47 left as planned in the previous timeout, going out moments after a steal from Kevin Durant.
“We got Eric Gordon on the bench,” Paul said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, get E.G. in. That’s what this team is capable of. Our depth, you can push through it as much as you want to, but you don’t have to.”
Paul’s limitations might have stalled the process of meshing with James Harden, with Harden returning to last season’s role after a struggling start. But Paul was happy to see that.
“I’m a hell of a cheerleader,” Paul said. “It’s fun, man, because you know what guys are capable of. That’s one of the biggest things I was looking forward to this year, being able to watch somebody as talented as James. James, he’s special, man. I catch myself sometimes. I have to get used to it. He’s unreal.
“I just wish I could have helped him out more. I’ve been saying it all along. We’re going to be fine. It’s all about wins and losses for us and we won tonight.”