Chris Paul is no stranger to postseason heartbreak. The 16-year NBA veteran has been through playoff hell and back, most recently falling short in the NBA Finals with the Phoenix Suns. But before that, Paul went through a similar heartbreak with the Houston Rockets.
Paul recently appeared on the No Chill with Gilbert Arenas show, where the two All-Star guards spoke candidly about CP3’s stint on the Rockets. Arenas brought up Houston in comparison to the totally different environment Paul has had in his successful run with the Suns:
“I remember when you were over in Houston,” Arenas told Paul. “And I said, ‘The only way they make it out is if James actually understands his gift and your gift.’ As a coach, you have to have that hard talk. And the hard talk is this, ‘James, up until the fourth quarter, last five minutes, it’s your game. The last five minutes, the ball is in CP’s hands.'”
Chris Paul was brutally honest in saying that he did wish there were open conversations with James Harden about their roles with the Rockets. He also emphasized that beyond those discussions, it was his health that was his biggest regret:
“You have to be able to have them conversations,” Paul said. “And the thing that frustrated me the most was that first year, I wasn’t healthy. It’s crazy. Them years in Houston are kinda a blur, to a certain extent, because there was so much going on at the time. But dang, we was good. We was real good.”
“And James, I still say it, can’t nobody score the ball like he can. It’s crazy, man. … I wouldn’t trade any experience or whatnot, but I wish we would’ve had some of those conversations. But most of all, I wish I would’ve been able to stay healthy.”
However, the tension between the stars was undeniable, and whether or not Paul is downplaying the animosity that existed at the time, there’s no point in unnecessarily ruffling any feathers over expired beef.
Chris Paul and the Rockets never made it to the NBA Finals, but they were pretty darn close. No disrespect to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, but the Golden State Warriors teams Chris Paul and James Harden had to face were arguably the greatest in NBA history.
James Harden has historically underperformed in the playoffs, and the numbers show it. CP3, meanwhile, has long been known as one of the most clutch performers in the league. Despite some stumbles in the NBA Finals last season, he had even more heroic performances throughout.