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Thunder’s Chris Paul speaks out on facing James Harden, Rockets’ small ball

Rockets, James Harden, Chris Paul, Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder star point guard Chris Paul knows it’s going to be tough to guard Houston Rockets superstar James Harden in their upcoming playoff series.

Paul wouldn’t divulge any secrets about the Thunder’s game plan when he spoke on Sunday, but he noted they have “different ideas over here” when it comes to defending Harden:

Harden led the NBA in scoring for the third straight season with 34.4 points per game. He shot 44.4% overall and 35.5% on 3-pointers.

It’s worth noting, though, that the Thunder did a great job slowing Harden down in the regular season. In three games, the star guard averaged 28.7 points, but he shot a woeful 32.8% from the field and 15.0% from 3-land. Some of that is probably just a bit of luck, but Oklahoma City clearly did something right with its defensive coverages. The Thunder won two of the three games.

Paul also addressed facing the Rockets’ unique small-ball lineup:

Now, Russell Westbrook will not be available when this series starts, and it’s unclear when the Rockets’ star point guard will be back from his quadriceps injury. This will have an impact on how the Thunder defend Harden, but Houston won’t be going away from its small-ball approach just because Westbrook is out.

The Rockets are still extremely dangerous even with Westbrook on the bench thanks to Harden’s ability to control games by himself. Paul and the Thunder will have their hands full in what should be a terrific first-round series.

Game 1 of the Thunder’s series against the Rockets will take place on Tuesday evening. Oklahoma City and Houston both finished with a 44-28 record this season, but the Rockets earned the No. 4 seed because they won their division.

The post Thunder’s Chris Paul speaks out on facing James Harden, Rockets’ small ball appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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