Rockets star Chris Paul, Mike D’Antoni not perturbed by Paul’s lack of shots
Chris Paul has taken a notable back seat to James Harden throughout this playoff stretch. The change was evident for the Houston Rockets throughout the course of the season, as Paul’s absence forced head coach Mike D’Antoni to go Harden heavy once again — circa 2016, giving his star a heavy load to carry to put the Rockets in contention.
However, neither he, nor his star point guard seem concerned with the lack of shot attempts Paul has had in this pivotal series against the Golden State Warriors.
“I just hoop,” Paul told Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times on Sunday. “I’ve never been a guy who has been like, ‘I’ve got to get this shot or I’ve got to get that shot.’ I play to win. If it’s there, it’s there. If it’s not, it’s not.”
Paul was the missing piece last season, and one the Rockets claimed as that absent ingredient that kept them from reaching the NBA Finals. Yet he’s been largely ignored in favor of Harden’s heavy usage, as the Rockets’ analytics point to his shot-hoisting as their best chance to win.
Paul has taken only 31 shots and 17 free throws in the series. His backcourt mate Harden has attempted 79 shots through these three games, along with 31 free throws. Eric Gordon, who’s been slotted as part of the Rockets three-guard starting lineup, has taken 52 shots — 21 more than Paul.
“He could take some more shots,” D’Antoni said of Paul after Game 3. “We keep talking about that. But Chris is unique. He sees the game. And it’s easy for me to sit over there and say, ‘Do this.’ … We’re talking about one of the smartest guys in the league. He figures it out.”
The Warriors have gone Kevin Durant-heavy in this series once again, as he has taken 78 shots while, Stephen Curry has taken 51 and Klay Thompson 47 throughout the first three games of the series.
Every star has a role to play and Paul is just playing his a bit differently.
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