CP3’s Late Game 5 Injury Raises Stakes For His Basketball Legacy

    Thursday nights Game 5 Western Conference Finals victory over the defending champion Golden State Warriors should have been one of the shining moments in Rockets franchise history.  Two Hall of Famers and former Rockets, Hakeem Olajuwon and Elvin Hayes sat prominently courtside. Another team effort by the Rockets, featuring another Shaolin boxing style masterful performance by Chris Paul, covered up a suspect game by James Harden and pulled out another close game, 98-94 

    Mike DAntonis squad is one game from advancing to the NBA Finals. There should be nothing but joy in Rocketsville today, instead, theres apprehension, an uncomfortable silence,  a looming uncertainty regarding The City’s savior Chris Paul who suffered a hamstring injury in the closing seconds of the game.

    SLAM Magazine on Twitter

    It took 13 years, but it was well worth the wait Chris Paul left it all out on the floor for Houston tonight. Here’s to a healthy and speedy recovery

    Game 5 would go down to the wire same as Game 4. The team that succumbed in this battle would be on the brink of elimination. Paul has been the orchestrator, antagonist, the shimmy-killer, and a relentless leader when The Beard goes through his moments of cluelessness. James Harden was 0-11 from three-point land in Game 5 and is 0-for-his last 20 three-point attempts,  but “The CP3 Effect” has compensated for all weaknesses and elevated role players such as PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon.  

    The Shadow League on Twitter

    Chris Paul really did the shimmy in front of Steph Curry. https://t.co/p48KShDJEz

    For Paul to check out of the game with 22.7 seconds remaining and go to the bench in a slumped position helplessly watching his squad fight for their playoff lives means hes hurt and probably wont be 100 percent for Game 6, which totally crushes the heavy momentum and any advantage that Houston has gained in this series. 

    When Houston won the game, Paul limped very slowly back to Houstons locker room, the squads championship hopes limping with him. Paul said he would be OK, but what else would a bulldog competitor in the midst of his finest NBA moment say. He got here believing in his ability to overcome the most insurmountable odds. Nothing’s changed. 

    Marc J. Spears on Twitter

    Just saw injured Rockets guard Chris Paul jump into a Maybach outside the Toyota Center and he said: “I will be all right.” I next asked about Game 6, Paul said: “Oh yeah,” before being whisked away.

    Theres no way Houston wins this series without Paul, who  ESPN’s Jalen Rose says will only be 75 percent at best for Game 6. Rose even suggested sitting CP3 for Game 6 and imploring The Beard to take 30 shots to pick up the slack. Paul has been the MVP of this series. Maybe Harden could have a scoring explosion that lifts Houston to a win over Golden State without CP3. Or maybe this is just setting the stage for something legendary. If Houston takes Roses advice and sits CP3 for Game 6, the point guard’s Game 7 return would set a dramatic stage for him to permanently entrench his name in the annals of NBA playoff lore. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.