Although James Harden did not play in Saturday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets rode a spectacular performance from Chris Paul to a 118-112 victory.
Paul scored 23 points while adding 17 assists and five rebounds, and the Rockets improved to 3-0 against the Warriors on the season. Should Houston beat the Dubs in their next meeting on Mar. 13, they will be the first team to win four consecutive games against the Warriors since Steve Kerr took over as head coach in the 2014-15 season.
The Rockets nearly dethroned the Warriors as Western Conference champions last season, but Paul missed Games 6 and 7 with an injury, and the Warriors would go on to win another NBA title.
Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala missed the final four games of those Western Conference Finals, and Kerr made headlines after the series by saying his team would have closed out the Rockets in five games if Iguodala had been healthy. Iguodala agreed with that assessment.
Paul — never one to shy away from verbal jousting — was quick to reflect on those remarks after the win, telling Yahoo Sports:
“What did [Andre Iguodala] say about the series last year? If he would have played, they would have swept us? Then he must be the X-factor,” the 33-year-old Paul told Yahoo Sports in a slight verbal jab at Iguodala, who missed the final four games of last year’s West finals with a leg contusion. “That’s the punchline you needed, right?”
Paul has dealt with injuries this year and the occasional shooting slump, but he has played well since returning to the lineup on Feb. 4, including five double-doubles.
The Rockets are now 34-25 on the season, which is good for fifth in the Western Conference. While Houston has had it struggles, the team remains confident about a potential rematch against Golden State.