The unpredictable predictability of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals provided spots of mystery and some elements of surprise for NBA fans. But in the end, for the fourth straight season, it will be Golden State and LeBrons Cleveland Cavs in the NBA Finals.
The Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets’ ineptitude from three-point distance in Game 7’s of their respective conference finals crushed each squads legit hopes of pulling an upset.
Houston was cursed in a way. The Rockets had the defending World Champs down 3-2 with Chris Paul leading the way and desperately wanting an NBA title to match the five his best friends LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have combined.
Paul warned us earlier this month that sh-t (can go) bad real quick. And when CP3 pulled his hamstring at the end of a glorious Game 5 comeback win, Houstons hopes of pulling off the impossible came to a screeching halt.
Sure, the absence of Paul was crucial to the flow of Houstons offense and the versatility of their potent attack. And most folks will focus on Houstons historically brutal shooting which saw them go 7-44 from three-point range (15.9%).
Houston went 7-44 for 3 point attempts last night. Chris Paul wouldn’t have mattered because they play stubborn offense, zero adjustments by the coach & players.
However, in the aftermath of Golden States win, the tragedy of tragedies has been overlooked, and thats the fact that Chris Paul had his greatest chance to win an NBA title and up until the point he exited the series, he was the MVP and was writing an award-winning final chapter in his Hall of Fame book. The NBA Title redemption chapter is all Pauls illustrious career is lacking.
The sight of Paul helplessly sitting on the bench, pounding a chair in frustration as he watched Golden State take advantage of Houstons backcourt and snipe his championship hopes away, is gut-wrenching even for the casual fan or the Golden State supporter.
Chris Paul Frustrated – TNT https://t.co/jwcVDidDyT
It wasn’t supposed to end like this for the 9-time NBA All-Star and 7-time NBA All-Defensive First Team magician. Fate has no friends and opportunity is like an elevator; you can miss it, time it just right or get on and it never gets you to the top floor because people keep getting on. If Pauls championship destination is the 10th floor, then he got all the way to the 8th floor and then it sent him back down to the basement.
One day he’s returning The Shimmy back Steph’s way, and he sees the light at the end of the tunnel and is the center of the basketball universe.
Chris Paul hit a tough three-pointer and then hit a shimmy on Steph Curry in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors. Find more exclusive sports coverage: http://bleacherreport.com/ Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/user/BleacherReport?sub_confirmation=1 Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bleacherreport Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bleacherreport
Then it all changed in the blink of an eye…or pull of a string. And this morning, nobody’s more sick than CP3. Not James Harden, who couldnt close again and did more kicking and looking bewildered and frustrated than key scoring.
Draymond Green was trying to help James Harden up but when Harden declined, Green said aight bet! https://t.co/T6XHPykMoH
Not Mike DAntoni, who had champagne thoughts and probably a speech was already written about how he knew his system would prevail one day and hed silence the haters.
This was his legacy playoffs. The moment that he introduced his greatness to the NBA masses and cemented his position as an all-time great. Many great players have carried teams for years and never won that elusive championship.
Patrick Ewing couldnt do it and it damaged his incomparable legacy. Ewing is a legend who gets shortchanged in conversations about the elite centers of all-time because he played in the Jordan era and lost to Hakeem Olajuwons Rockets in 1994 NBA finals. Charles Barkley is larger than life as an NBA media guy, but his biggest regret is his failure to close the deal on an NBA championship.
Eric Gordon and half of the NBA community believes the Rockets would have won Game 7 with CP3 leading the show, which makes the situation even more devastating for Houston.
The Get Up! crew reacts to Eric Gordon saying in his postgame interview that the Houston Rockets would have won the series against the Golden State Warriors if Chris Paul were healthy.
I guess CP3 can go back at it next season. Houston will be stacked again and hopefully, they will be more cognizant of the rest Paul needs to be able to endure 20 or so brutal playoff games that can be more taxing than the entire 82-game season.
Then again, you can’t predict injury and Pauls came at the worst possible time for Houston. And with LeBron James possibly coming to the West — unless he joins Houston — the Rockets may have some competition for Western Conference supremacy outside of Golden State.
Paul doesnt want 2018 to be his biggest regret and if he never reaches the finals or wins a championship, it wont be because he lacked the talent, the heart, intelligence, drive or ability. It just wasnt meant to be.
For all of our metrics, analytics and philosophies about Houston’s style of play, Golden States loaded deck and Pauls impact as a game-changer, at the end of the day, the human element prevailed, putting Paul on the wrong side of history again.