Though they held a 3-2 lead over the Golden State Warriors at one point in last season's Western Conference Finals, the Houston Rockets were ultimately defeated, 4-3. There were some who felt that Chris Paul's hamstring injury, which forced him to miss the remainder of that series, was one of the determining factors in Houston's defeat. Paul, however, says he isn't dwelling on the past:

“Last year was last year. I can't go back to that,” Paul told ESPN. “If I had a dollar for every time somebody said that — know what I mean?

“You don't get to go back to Game 6 or whatever. Right now is about right now. I honestly could care less about last year. It's about right now.”

Just as they were last season, Paul and the Rockets are viewed as one of the top contenders in the Western Conference. In fact, most experts feel that Houston could be a real threat to Golden State's title defense. And with the reigning MVP at his side, Houston has a legitimate chance:

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“You have to factor everything in, but our window is now,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tells ESPN. “You need two guys as good as James [Harden] and Chris to win [a championship], so we're more focused on the now.”

Paul, now 33 years of age, is showing little to no signs of regression. In 41 appearances with the Rockets this season, the former No. 4 overall pick has racked up averages of 15.8 points on 41.9 percent shooting from the field (35.2 percent from beyond the arc), 8.3 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 32.8 minutes per outing.

The Rockets (39-25 and first in the Southwest Division) have won six consecutive games. They'll look to keep their momentum rolling on Friday night, when they welcome the Sixers to town.