Rockets ‘psyched up’ during Chris Paul’s return after missing 14 games
All-Star point guard Chris Paul returned for the Houston Rockets on Thursday night against the Phoenix Suns after a 14-game absence due to soreness in his left knee.
It didn’t take long for the Rockets to showcase their explosive offense with Paul back in the mix cruising to a 142-116 win. Following the game, head coach Mike D’Antoni voiced that the entire team was excited to have the 32-year-old back on the floor, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.
“Everybody was psyched up to get Chris back,” D’Antoni said. “Obviously, he’s going to make a big difference. Just one of those nights we played well offensively and got up big. It’s like playing golf for the first time in a long time. You go out and shoot a good score and the next three days you’re slicing all over the place.”
Houston looked like an offensive juggernaut with Paul, who registered a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists in 21 minutes played, back in the flow of things. This included scoring a franchise-record 90 points in the first half, which was also the second-highest total in league history that was accomplished on 61 percent shooting from the field.
Although it’s a small sample size, it is clear that Paul has smoothly fit into the mix with the Rockets’ uptempo offense under D’Antoni. What has also continued to work is the strategy of allowing both Harden and Paul to be the primary ball handlers with different units on the floor for the majority of the game.
More importantly, this could set the table for the Rockets becoming a serious threat to not only dethrone the Golden State Warriors but also be considered a legitimate title contender.
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