On his 33rd birthday, Chris Paul puts up 27 PTS, 12 REB, 6 AST to help the @HoustonRockets head home with a 3-1 series lead! #Rockets #NBAPlayoffs https://t.co/Rykh2f9DSg
But the mission is far from complete, so pardon Paul for not celebrating like LeBron James after winning a semifinal playoff game 100-87 and going up 3-1 on the Utah Jazz. Sure, moving one game closer to his first Conference Finals in 12 years and posting 27 PTS, 12 REB and 6 AST on his 33rd birthday lit a fire under him, but as Paul candidly told the reporter after the game, hes “been here before.
Chris Paul weighs in on being up 3-1 before. “I’ve been here before, 3-1. Shit went bad real quick.” #RingerNBA https://t.co/f3bV7IzlcI
No need to beat around the bush or candy coat the situation. Soft words and politically correct jargon won’t change Paul’s gut-wrenching and perplexing playoff history. Nothing short of completing the mission will satisfy Pauls thirst for long-awaited championship glory and stop the false narrative about him not being a difference maker.
She say, “Do you love me?” I tell her, “Only partly” I only love my bed and James’ Harden, I’m sorry… Are you an athlete that would like a highlight video made for you? Just send me a tweet, and I’ll see what I can do to make one for you!
Pauls been the Alpha-male on his team since the day the New Orleans Hornets took him in the 2005 Draft, but he has never seen a Conference Finals game. In fact, Paul has been in the playoffs for nine of those 12 seasons, advancing any deeper than the semis has been a torturous task for the fierce competitor.
Last year was his final one as the maestro of Lob City, one of the NBAs more exciting shows and he set a record for playoff futility on the way out the door as his Clippers squad became the only team in NBA history to blow a playoff series lead in five straight years. Injuries and bad luck have decimated Paul’s championship hopes year after year.
2013: 2-0 lead against the Grizzlies
The Clippers lost the series momentum and squandered the lead.
2014: 1-0 lead against the Thunder
Donald Sterlings TMZ tape set off a whirlwind of drama. After defeating the Warriors in Round 1, the media moshpit surely took a toll on spokespersons Doc Rivers, Paul and the team.
2015: 3-1 lead against the Rockets
Probably Paul’s most disappointing moment as a player. The Clipper were in control of the series and up 3-1 but Paul was suffering from a hamstring injury and the Clippers couldn’t overcome Paul’s limited effectiveness and lost the next three games.
For @TheCauldron, let’s dispense with the idea that Chris Paul is a playoff failure once and for all. https://t.co/55mEl1RnZ6
2016: 2-0 lead against the Trail Blazers
Paul and Blake Griffin both went out with season-ending injuries before Game 3. Without their two best players LA had no shot.
2017: 2-1 lead against the Utah Jazz
After going up 2-1 in the series, the Clippers lost Griffin to injury and that was all it took for Utah to come back and win.
The next season he was out to Houston.
His best friends LeBron and Wade have several championships, but like Melo, Paul is the odd man out in that iconic cipher with a reputation for regular season magnificence and playoff disappointment.
Chris Paul has played in 76 career playoff games, the most all-time by a player without a Conference Finals appearance. (Via: @EliasSports)
Add eight more playoff games to that stat as Paul led Houston to a 4-1 first-round win over Minnesota, plus the four so far with Utah. Paul wont count his Conference championship blessings until Houston has won its fourth game because if his career is any indication, despite being on a new and improved team, Paul knows that sh*t can change quick.