Paul Silences The Doubters, Gets Rockets One Step Closer to Finals

Jonathan Grant | May 25th, 2018

The Houston Rockets have done what many thought would just be impossible- well they nearly have anyway. They are one game away now from winning the Western Conference, and thus, sending them straight through to the NBA Finals. There are a number of reasons why they have been able to do this, but the fact remains the same. Houston has put together an amazing run, and they are now in need of just one win from the next two games to win the series and get to the promised land.

As far as most are concerned, there should be three key things looked at as to why this team has succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. For starters, Chris Paul has been phenomenal in these last couple of games. And not just on the court with his play, either. Most importantly, Paul has been the leader on and off the court. The pep talk he gave the team during a timeout will be etched in the brains of fans for some time. And rightly so. He stepped up in a big way, and now his detractors will be having a hard time discrediting him even if they do somehow manage to lose the series.

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The second reason that they have done so well is their defense. Games 4 and 5 have been fantastic from them as a whole. In Game 4, they were down 12 before they could even blink. But they fought back and held the Warriors to under 100 points in a win at Golden State. They would also do the same thing in the win in Game 5 (as they won 98-94 and forcing 17 turnovers), a massive credit to them. Some will say that the Warriors did not play their best, but the fact is that pressure sometimes tells. And the Rockets were applying that.

The third reason and final reason that will be mentioned is their ability to get points from the bench. They have not always played a ton of players, putting a lot of pressure and minutes upon the backs of a select few. However, they have gotten the utmost out of Eric Gordon. In essence, he has become their version of Robert Horry. If that keeps up, they could just end up being NBA Champions. The biggest problem could be that Paul has an injury problem. Could that cause them to go down, or will James Harden, Gordon, and co. hold off the defending champs?

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