The Golden State Warriors escaped with the victory in Game 7 to advance to the NBA Finals, but Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon believes things would have gone differently had Chris Paul been on the floor.
"If he was out there, we would be playing on Thursday," Gordon said after Houston's 101-92 Game 7 loss to Golden State, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
After holding double-digit leads in both Games 6 and 7, Paul's absence was felt down the stretch of both games as the Rockets struggled to create offensively without their point guard, especially in today's decider.
Houston shot a poor 7-of-44 from the three-point line, at one point missing 27 consecutive attempts from long-range.
Chris Paul led the NBA in Real Plus-Minus this season.- Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) May 29, 2018
The Rockets were 53-7 (regular and postseason) in games in which Paul, James Harden and Clint Capela all played. They were 23-16 in all other games.
They were 3-2 in the Western Conference Finals with that trio.
Throughout the season, whenever Houston's weren't dropping Paul consistently found a way to get buckets from mid-range, get his teammates better looks and control the tempo of the game. Today his calming influence was sorely missed as Gordon and James Harden tired down the stretch after playing 39 minutes and 42 minutes respectively.
While the Warriors return to the Finals for a fourth-straight matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Rockets will be lamenting what could have been?