It wasn't even a year ago that the Houston Rockets gave the Warriors a run for their money in the Western Conference Finals. And even after their rather rough start this season, the Rockets firmly believe that with a healthy Chris Paul partnered in the backcourt with James Harden, they are the team that presents the biggest challenge to the back-to-back champions.
Commonly referred to as the x-factor in Houston, Paul's commanding presence on the basketball court makes the Rockets a significant threat to their competition. With him sitting out most of the season, we were reminded just how important he is to the team. We saw the same result when Houston had to go without him in game 7 of their playoff series against Golden State last spring.
And now, in lieu of their 118-112 victory over the Dubs on Saturday, Chris Paul took some time to take a jab at the defending champs. Most notably Andre Iguodala, who said that (had he been healthy), his team would have swept the Rockets.
“What did [Andre Iguodala] say about the series last year? If he would have played, they would have swept us? Then he must be the X-factor,” Paul told Yahoo Sports in a verbal jab at Iguodala, who missed the final four games of last year’s West finals. “That’s the punchline you needed, right?”
Iguodala, in 26 minutes, scored 8 points on 42% shooting in the loss where his team was unable to stop a scorching Paul, who had a monster 23 point, 17 assist night. All of it came without James Harden, who was out with injury.
So, it certainly does not bode well for Iggy's theory.
And it should serve as a reminder that, even in the midst of a tough season, you shouldn't count out the Rockets -- not as long as they've got CP3 running the show.