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Home / Sports / NBA Playoffs 2018: Warriors have become the Rockets, just not so good; Everyone loses when Chris Paul can not go

NBA Playoffs 2018: Warriors have become the Rockets, just not so good; Everyone loses when Chris Paul can not go

The Houston Rockets are a victory away from the NBA Finals after surviving the Warriors 98-94 in a wild Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday. Houston now leads the series 3-2 in Oakland for Match 6 on Saturday.

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There's so much to say about this game, and this series, so let's get started. Here are five things to know from Game 5:

1. Will the injury put the glowing Chris Paul on hold?

First things first: If you were one of the trumpeters of the "Chris Paul is not a big winner" tale, perhaps the laziest, weakest recording in NBA story, just show yourself. That guy, man. After a brilliant game 4, Paul was again the best player on the ground for crucial stretches in Game 5, even though his stance does not jump off the side ̵

1; 20 points in 6-of-19 shooting, seven rebounds, six helps. In a game that was won out of pure courage, Paul was just the soul of this Rockets team when James Harden could not even find a specification of his heart or game we'll achieve in a second.

When Paul was traded to Houston, a league executive – and I'm paraphrasing here – told me that it would be a great marriage because Paul would bring things to Houston that missed it, and Paul would agree with some of Houston's style and supporting roles Provide for things he missed. How it turned out. Here you have a team that almost bans mid-range punches and one of the midfield's best midfielder in the middle and the result is a team that can now get buckets other than on paper.

So often in this series, Paul has a run, or stopped one, or just calmed down the flow of the game with a patented pull-up in the track, or out of 16 feet, the exact shots Houston allegedly despised. Blame the Rockets for bending this principle because it will save them in this series if they are fighting for three.

On the other hand, Paul has also fitted in with Houston's play, winning nearly two more 3-points per game this year and more than 100 more pull-ups this year. The four threes he dropped in Game 5 seemed to be four times as large, including this answered prayer that made Stephen Curry's (19459003) Shimmy laugh like a boss :

Somehow, Paul was a minus 13 for this game.

If you need a reason to close analytics, then you have it.

Unfortunately, we can only celebrate Paul so much because he may be out for Game 6 or the rest of this series or maybe the rest of the playoffs. Let's hope this is not the case, but he came too late from Game 5 with a thigh injury (reported by TNT's Kristen Ledlow), and it was one of those traits you could just tell from his defeated countenance. Again, we do not hope. This series deserves Paul. Paul deserves this series and how long these playoffs last. He has played his whole career for it. If he can not play in Game 6, it's hard to imagine how the Rockets can beat the Warriors on the street. Paul will be reevaluated on Friday morning. Stay tuned …

2. The old warriors do not come through this door

Listen, there is only one way to say this: the warriors are not the same team anymore (well, apart from the sales, in this respect they are still the same team) ). They are still great, but the combination of Houston is getting better and the Warriors are becoming a worse version of themselves. That's why this series is where it is. Gone is largely the nice ball movement that we expect from the Warriors, who now look very similar, well, the Rockets, the isolation by Kevin Durant basically play all the playoffs that I and a lot of other people, suspected they might eventually bite in heating up the competition .

Once again, the Rockets won the 3-point fight in Game 5 and made 13 of the 10 of the Warriors, while they tried 17 more than Golden State. Pretty simple, the Warriors are just not a 3-point shooter team anymore. They are still capable of 3 points, but they do not hunt them. They have decided that they will play Durant. One team that used to transfer the math game to everyone else is now vulnerable to the odds it seems to have created. Their flow is not the same. Nothing is the same. Well, the warriors have so much talent, and Durant is so great that they clearly can still win in that way. They went up 16-1 last year in the playoffs for screaming.

But even last year they had more room for error. The Rockets have closed the gap. Golden State just is not the same. The Warriors had 18 assists in Game 5 when they were a team that set up 30 assists like clockwork. How many of these 18 assists did Durant have? Zero. How about Draymond Green, who was the main distributor of the Warriors while everyone else was working on the ball? Four. Not the same warriors again.

That is, it's not all Golden State who only chooses to play differently. Houston forces some, if not many, this offensive stable. What brings us to …

3. This Rockets Defense Is No Joke

Houston has now won two consecutive games in this series – against perhaps the collectively talented offensive in history – with his defense. Kudos to Houston GM Daryl Morey, who happily admitted that the Rockets are obsessed with beating the Warriors, and he has built up his team accordingly. Jamal Crawford said it best:

The former Pistons big Rip Hamilton told me exactly the same thing a few days ago when he and I discussed why Durant had so much iso-ball played. I said it was the warriors' decision to play that way, which I still firmly believe. Rip said the Warriors' shooters can not get a seat because Houston changes every screen that shuts down the ball, and that's where the truth lies.

That's exactly how Morey planned it with guys like PJ Tucker, Trevor Ariza, a versatile big guy in Clint Capela who can watch over perimeter players, Chris Paul, who is going to fight two weight classes and well and even good guys like Eric Gordon and Gerald Green, who are not great defenders, but at least the right size to keep the change going.

But … the warriors are still giving way too easily. Curry has shown in the last three games that he is more than capable of beating any defender in Houston, and when Golden Sate moved the ball he gave them buckets. More than anything, these are the Rockets who enforce their will. They want to play in a certain way and force the warriors to play in such a way that Golden State dictates its own conditions, what we expect from a team that has been writing its own rules for three years. Anyway, the results speak for themselves: Two games in a row, the Warriors were held under 100 points.

In Game 4, Houston held the Warriors down to 12 quarter-fourths on 2-by-13 shots of Durant and Curry. In Game 5, Durant was eliminated in the fourth quarter. Went 0-for-4 out of the field. Did not shoot in the final 3:30. That's 1 for 9 in the last two quarters for Durant. Give the rockets credit. You know, he wanted to score. You know that the warriors wanted him to score. He could not do it.

. 4 What did the Warriors do on the track?

Let's make this clear: A team of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson stopped the outcome of three of his last four possessions in a game of possession on the shoulders of Draymond Green and Quinn Cook. Granted, Cook's view of three was a good one, and Green lowered a three to reduce the lead to just over a minute to play. That was a monster shot. But still, if you were to go down with your big guns, that was exactly the opposite of it.

The last ball possession was the ultimate head-scratcher.

So Golden State has the ball with 6.7 seconds ahead and two, and they go to … Draymond? I mean, take a look at this piece. Curry gets the inbound pass and immediately tries to get him to Green, who chooses the worst possible time to go Butterfinger.

It does not matter that Green even caught the ball. Durant was guarded on the opposite side with about 40 feet of face and did not even try to move, and Curry was the one who made the pass and basically no longer came the game. Green would have to play against the dribbling defense. What do you call three of the best shooters in history in your group?

I've long promoted Steve Kerr as an incredible coach, and so is he. But there are some things about the way he coaches that particular team that deserves at least some questions.

. 5 Harden has to jump back on a grand scale

Harden was terrible in Game 5. Like, abysmal. Dude went from three to 0 for 11 and 21 for a total of 5. In the end, he did not even really try to make shots, just praying for the jokes to go to the edge. He got some of them, but overall, Paul and the boys saved him in the biggest game of his Rocket career. He deserves a pass. He was not great for most of this series, and by his standards he was pretty inconsistent in the playoffs, but the playoffs are different. That is not easy. Once again, Durant was out of pocket money and he is probably the second best player in the world. It happens.

But it can not happen in Game 6 when Paul is out. We still hope he can play, but if not, the only chance the Rockets have in Oracle is that Harden does his MVP thing. If he can do that and send the Rockets to the NBA Finals, nothing will matter anymore.

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