Paul has been sidelined since straining the hamstring in the final minute of Houston's Game 5 win over the Golden State Warriors. With James Harden struggles on the court for most of the series, it had been Paul that picked up the slack and lead the Rockets to a 3-2 lead ahead of Game 6. Harden finished the game with 32 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds. Even so, network execs could have reason to wonder if the lack of novelty could erode viewership - though if the conference championship round has taught us anything, it's that the best ratings tonic is often a seven-game series.
The Rockets led 39-22 after the first quarter behind four early threes from Eric Gordon.
Meanwhile, the Warriors came out cold on offense.
On the Warriors' injury report, swingman Andre Iguodala is once again questionable to play after missing Games 5 and 6 with a bone bruise in his left knee. One of Houston's few point guards, Paul sitting out with injury leading to an uptick in turnovers is probably not a coincidence. He'll become an instant hero in Houston if he pulls a Willis Reed and inspires the Rockets in Game 7, then again if he beats his pal LeBron in The Finals.More news: 1st named storm of 2018 Atlantic hurricane season expected to impact Carolinas
The under is 4-0 in the last four Warriors games overall. In 1962, the Lakers, led by Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, scored 51 points in the fourth quarter of Game 5 of their Western Division Final against the Detroit Pistons. Houston missed all 14 3s that it launched in the third quarter, part of a stretch of 27 straight missed 3s, the longest such drought during a playoff game in National Basketball Association history.
After being down by 10 at halftime of Game 6, the Warriors trailed by 11 entering the third quarter on Monday night. That's one of the more ridiculous quarter-by-quarter box scores you'll ever see and it underscores just how good the Warriors were in the second half.and how bad the Rockets were as well.
The Warriors held no such pre-camp huddle - champions have what others want - yet knew that once the Rockets added Paul, Houston would be their toughest test since Durant signed up.
After the game, Curry told reporters coach Steve Kerr had some advice after his rocky start.
The Warriors are one win away from a fourth straight NBA Finals, while the Rockets seek their first Finals trip since 1995. It's easier to go with the Warriors if Chris Paul is ruled out for tonight's game.