Add in the fact that we lost our best leader due to injury and we're stuck in a crossroads.
Paul, who advanced to the conference finals for the first time in his career in his first season with the Rockets, is averaging 21.1 points and 5.8 assists per game during these playoffs.
For just a while, it seemed like maybe, just maybe, we were headed for the unthinkable.
The Rockets had 39 points in the first quarter of game six.
LeBron James, who played all 48 minutes, had the monster game the Cavs needed from him: 35 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists. The Rockets raced to a 17-point lead in the first quarter of Game 6 only to run out of steam without Paul present to alleviate the pressure on fellow guards James Harden and Eric Gordon. Yet, Warriors coach Steve Kerr downgraded Iguodala's status to "doubtful". "The guy's a machine". However, the defending champions struggled from the floor, trailed by as many as 17 points and were down 51-41 at halftime. Horford led the charge as the Celtics took a 26-18 at the end of the first quarter.
Soon, the rout was on.
Coach Mike D'Antoni said he had "no idea" if Paul could recover in time to play in Game 7. "Then once you get them going and they get out of the box - we didn't communicate really well two or three times, and then they just got on a roll". This got the guys wonder who in the league is the most clutch, and they narrowed it down to the top five. "It was sort of a head scratcher". "I just know he's built for stardom".
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"I think we've played now until May 25th and May 27th the last two years, and we started on September 25th", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
"He can get a lot better", Stevens said. "That first quarter we did a really good job of communicating, limiting them on threes, just contesting everything, making everything hard". "So nothing changes for us".
"So, everybody knows, obviously what we want to happen and we'll take the Finals first and take it from there". We haven't been in these positions before as a group and all of this has been a great learning experience for our group.
But the Cavs made just enough threes - two more than Boston - despite shooting 25.7% from that distance.
"Effort. Intensity. Passion", Thompson said of the Warriors' second-half surge.
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will open the 2018 NBA Finals on Thursday night in either Golden State or Houston. Upon his return from Miami in 2014, James also lobbied for the acquisition of Love, a fine player though unlucky with injuries, the latest being his collision with the Celtics' Jason Tatum early in Game 6 that put him in concussion protocol and left him on the sidelines on Sunday night.