Chris Paul was a crunchtime spectator during his Houston Rockets debut, cheering on his teammates from the bench for the final 4 minutes, 47 seconds of Tuesday's 122-121 comeback win over the Golden State Warriors, a decision coach Mike D'Antoni attributed to lingering soreness in the star point guard's left knee. "Dragging his leg a little bit; I had to get him out of there," D'Antoni said. Paul, the nine-time All-Star who pushed for the offseason trade from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Rockets, went to the end of the bench after subbing out but showed no sign of displeasure with D'Antoni's decision. Paul was on his feet for most of the final 4:47, smiling and rooting for his teammates, while waving a towel in celebration on several occasions. "I'm a hell of a cheerleader, man," joked Paul, who wasn't certain whether he would play in Wednesday's road game against the Sacramento Kings. Paul, who celebrated with James Harden and other teammates after officials waved off what briefly appeared to be a winning buzzer-beater by Golden State's Kevin Durant, said D'Antoni discussed with him during the fourth quarter the possibility of pulling him from the game. Paul praised D'Antoni's communication and agreed with the call to sub in sixth man Eric Gordon, who scored 24 points in the opener. "We've got Eric Gordon on the bench, you know what I mean?" Paul said. "I was like, 'Yeah, EG, get me.' That's what this team is capable of [with] our depth. You can push through it as much as you want to, but you don't have to." Paul, who sat out last week's preseason finale due to a bruised left knee, had four points on 2 of 9 shooting, eight rebounds and 11 assists in 33 minutes. He appeared to be laboring on the knee at times Tuesday night, but Paul played a key role in giving the Rockets a chance to pull off the comeback. With Harden resting, Houston sliced the deficit from 13 points to five in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, with Paul hitting a step-back jumper and dishing out four assists during that span.
Sore knee relegates Chris Paul to bench as Rockets hold off Warriors
ESPN | Oct 18