USA Today Images

Game, Set, Match. CP3.

It’s finally here. The matchup we’ve been waiting for since June.

May 09, 2018 - 11:59 am
Categories: 

It’s here. It’s finally here. The matchup we’ve been waiting for since June. That was when Chris Paul went to the Rockets and that was when the Rockets went all in on beating the Warriors.

Everything since then has been an appetizer. James Harden’s MVP season. The franchise-record 65 wins. Houston’s absurd record when Harden, Paul, and Clint Capela play. All of that is building up to this – the Western Conference Finals showdown with Golden State.

Of course, the final step to that, the mozzarella stick on the appetizer platter was finishing off Utah. And for most of last night, Houston made that look harder than they should’ve. Well, Houston and Utah made it look harder than they should have. Because you can say anything that you want about this Utah team, but one thing you will not say about them is that they’re soft. Or that they quit. They were down two point guards and they gave Houston everything they could handle. 

Utah was down 8 at halftime and then Donovan Mitchell exploded for 22 in the third quarter to give the Jazz a three point lead going into the fourth. And for a moment, it looked like they might rip this. But when he went down with a knee injury with 7 minutes left, that was the end for Utah. 

Except it wasn’t. The Jazz kept fighting, scoring 7 straight points and cutting Houston’s lead to 1. But then Chris Paul went to work.

There wasn’t a more tired idea in basketball than the one of Chris Paul being a playoff choker who couldn’t reached the conference finals. But if you went into last night still thinking that was the case, CP3 took a sledgehammer to that idea. 13 straight points in the fourth quarter and I’m not sure who was better – Chris Paul on the floor or the icon Kevin Harlan on the mic.

There was the stepback three: “Chris Paulllllll.”

He was even banking them off the glass as the shot clock expired.

Goooooooddddddd

Chris Paul has been an assassin. A legendary performance from Chris Paul. And the only guy in the building who could keep up with him was Harlan. KH was matching CP shot for shot.

And meanwhile, Donovan Mitchell was trying to fight his way through pain to get back out on the court. I love that attitude and effort from the rookie, but I’m not sure it would’ve mattered. 

Not when Chris Paul is going for a playoff-career high 41 points, 10 assists, 8 three-pointers, 7 rebounds, and zero turnovers. Another great playoff performance and another tired meme destroyed.

How would you describe what you just saw, James Harden?

Oh, he got in his bag all right. He got way in his bag. And yes, if he’s doing that, he is a problem. A huge problem. 

Oh, and right about now would probably be a pretty good time to point out that it looks like Chris Paul got the better end of that Blake Griffin divorce. One guy is sitting at home, coach-less and playoff-less, in Detroit. While the other just carried his team into the Western Conference Finals. Game. One guy got his team to the Western Conference Finals, the other go this coach fired. Errrr, got himself traded to the Pistons. 

Either way, Paul came out of this a helluva lot better than Griffin did. Game set. Match. CP3.