Chris Paul ruled out of Clippers-Rockets Game 2 with left hamstring strain
Chris Paul will miss his second straight game on Wednesday, as Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers ruled his All-Star point guard out for Game 2 of his team’s Western Conference semifinals series against the Houston Rockets due to the strained left hamstring he suffered in the Clips’ Game 7 first-round win over the San Antonio Spurs.
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Rivers pegged the odds that Paul would play in Game 2 at “50-50” after CP3 missed Game 1 of the series with an injury that just hadn’t progresed enough for the coach to feel comfortable putting his star back on the court.
Despite playing without their primary facilitator, top perimeter defender and unquestioned vocal leader, the Clippers pulled together and stunned Houston on Monday, scoring a 117-101 win led by brilliant all-around play from power forward-turned-point forward Blake Griffin (26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists). Austin Rivers, Doc’s son and a much-maligned part of what’s largely perceived as a thin Clipper bench, answered the call in Game 1, scoring 17 points on 5-for-12 shooting, including a 4-for-6 mark from 3-point land, with four steals and three assists in 28 1/2 minutes to help L.A. wrest home-court advantage away from the sluggish and step-slow Rockets.
With a split on the road already secured and the chance to get an extra two days of rest and treatment before Friday’s Game 3 back at Staples Center, it seemed like discretion would be the better part of valor when it came to CP3 suiting up … especially considering how hard the point man, who turned 30 on Wednesday, tends to go whenever he steps between the lines. From Arash Markazi of ESPN.com:
“It’s really tough, especially with the way that I play, there’s only one way I know how to play,” Paul said. “It’s one of those things where you don’t want to make it worse than it already is.” […]
Paul has not been able to run since suffering the injury in Saturday’s series-clinching win over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7. He has been getting around-the-clock treatment since then.
“I’ve been with the training staff all day, every day,” Paul said. “I’m doing everything possible to try and get back out on the court … Every day is better. We’ll see. If I can play, I’ll play.”
Paul sat on the Clippers bench Monday, occasionally coaching his teammates, and said he was more nervous as a spectator than a player.
“I told them if I were to miss tonight I’d probably have to take some anxiety pills,” Paul said. “It’s a lot more nerve-wracking being on the bench than it is in the game. We’re such a team and guys really showed a lot of resolve. This is probably a reason why I’ll never coach, not at this level. Maybe my AAU kids but not this, this is too stressful.”
If Paul’s feeling stressed out about the prospect of watching the game unfold without him, just imagine how the Rockets feel. Two nights ago, they looked at the prospect of playing a CP3-less Clippers team as an easy opportunity to take a 1-0 lead. Now, they’ve got to be feeling at least a little concerned at how miserable it’d be to drop two straight games at home against a team missing one of its two best players. Burdens can shift pretty quickly in the NBA playoffs.
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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter!
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