It was less than a year ago that Chris Paul's NBA Finals dream came a game shy from coming true. Up 3-2 in a Western Conference Finals series against the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets guard exited Game 5 with a pulled left hamstring, one he'd be unable to recover from in time to return to the court.

This was the latest of a long list of Paul's untimely playoff injuries, but perhaps the most crushing, given the stage and what was at stake with his new team.

Yet the Rockets point guard soon got back on the horse, and nothing described it better for his fans than a motivational video detailing his return from the injury.

“Pain is temporary. It may last for a minute, an hour, a day or maybe a year. But eventually, it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it will last forever. I said, ‘Look, don’t cry to give up. Cry to keep going.’ Don’t cry to quit. You are already in pain. You are already hurt. Get a reward from it …”

Paul was determined to get back to that same stage and to prove he could reach his goal, this time healthy enough to get a full crack at it.

“I have to get back to work. I learned that at an early age,” Paul told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated in a recent phone interview. “It’s adversity. You see someone’s true colors not when things are going well, but when it is hard. I have never had that lay it down mentality. You get back to it…

“You move on. As tough as it was at that point, you move on. You get past it.”

Having breezed through the first-round series, Paul will face the Warriors a second straight year, or his former team, the L.A. Clippers, who have speedily rebuilt after trading him to the Rockets two seasons ago.