Chris Paul returned to the Houston Rockets’ lineup Sunday night to help James Harden and the rest of his teammates earn a gutsy win against the Orlando Magic. He scored 12 points and had six assists, five boards, and three steals while playing 25 minutes.
Paul has missed a handful of games due to a hamstring injury, but that doesn’t mean he’s not following the everyday news. After the game, he quickly addressed his teammate’s critics in an interview the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen.
CP3 on the Harden point-a-palooza: “Everybody gets caught up in how many pts his scoring or how many times he’s dribbles or how many times he’s passing. Just respect what he’s doing. Guys in this league know how hard it is to do that. If everybody else could do it, they would.”
Harden, who had 40 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists in the win, has been accused of stat-padding by some fans. He has taken a ridiculous amount of shots and has scored 30 or more points in at least 20 consecutive games, but the Rockets can’t seem to win on a consistent basis.
Of course, one reason for that is the injuries the Rockets have dealt with over the past two months. The team is still missing the services of starting center Clint Capela, and he’s not expected to return until late next month. In addition, PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon also missed several games this year.
So in reality, it was all up to Harden to keep their playoff chances safe. They are currently fifth in the West, and they should be able to make a final push to get the highest spot they can get in the conference standings before they head into the playoffs.