24 hours before game 6, Steph Curry was scheduled for a shooting session. But, at the last minute Chris Paul took the court and wouldn’t allow Steph to practice. Not even on half the court. It was the mother of all pettiness and it was why (after Steph kicked the Rockets into their summer season), the Warriors were celebrating Chris Paul’s demise. There is something called professional courtesy. I can allow you to practice because I want to beat you at your best.
NBA fans remember the last thing they saw and tend to forget any kind of history. Yesterday, after the Steph Show, I mentioned that Chris Paul is the greatest player to never have made it to a NBA final. Okay, I had been drinking some and was a little loud. Dude at the end of the bar with locks and a Nipsey Hussle tee looked at me and said, “Chris Paul ain’t great. Whoever paid him that money needs to be fired.”
Something has happened to the image of Chris Paul since he left Los Angeles. The same thing can be said about Blake Griffin too. No one seems to care about them anymore. It’s as if Los Angeles propped them up.
The point of Chris Paul on the Rockets was to help James Harden overcome his James Harden moments. His penchant for suffocating on his adams apple, as Bill Russell liked to say. But in the semis, it was Harden who needed to save CP3. Before last night, Chris Paul was shooting a horrific 39%. Had he played the rest of the series like he played last night, the Rockets may be going to a game 7. But Paul only showed up in an elimination game. He seemed pretty happy to skate on the talent of James Harden. It is a similar LeBron James-Dwyane Wade kind of thing where Wade took a step back.
Chris has taken a big step back. And not just in his play.
As president of the Player’s Association, he is supposed to be serving all the players, not holding grudges and showing jealousy and trying jedi mind tricks. Besides, none of that works.
What messed with Curry in the semis wasn’t any Chris Paul voodoo but that dislocated finger and Curry not playing with it and the pain very well. Plus, Curry was doing stupid things on defense, like reaching and swiping and just making dumb plays, without rhyme or reason.
Kevin Durant is the best player on the Warriors. He has unstoppable offensive talent with a versatility that makes him unguardable. There is no place on the floor that he can’t unleash his offensive game. He has discredited the analytics crowd who say shoot threes. Durant is a mid-range juggernaut that he occasionally sweetens with a perimeter score.
That said. The lifeblood of the Warriors, the most valuable player- not the most important player- is Steph Curry.
The system was built around Steph and the Warrior players protect and defend him at all costs. When they heard about CP3’s antics they were pissed and everyone was on the same page to jam a series over win down the Rockets throats. How else do you explain a bench that never does anything worth remembering, even sad Jonas Jerekbo, being responsible for something. Lesson: don’t mess with Steph.
Chris Paul’s defenders and old school NBA fans love what he did. Said he was using gamesmanship to his advantage and if Steph really wanted to practice, he would have gotten in the arena at one a.m. That’s weak. Paul was trying to mess with Steph because he knew without KD it was Steph or it was game 7. The only problem with his thinking was something far greater.
You don’t poke the bear. He bites back. He mauls you. “That was the best 18 minutes of my career” Curry said afterwards. And then he and his teammates clowned Chris Paul in the celebration.