SHORT HANDED

What is next for the Rockets with Chris Paul out?

Chris Paul's twisting and turning has him off the court for Game 6. Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Rockets made it official on Friday: Chris Paul will not play in Game 6 of the NBA Finals in Oakland on Saturday night. Paul was injured late in the crucial Game 5 victory that put the Rockets up 3-2 in the series.

It remains to be seen if Paul will be available for a potential Game 7 on Monday, or even the NBA Finals should the Rockets get that far. Rest assured, they would not be up 3-2 without his efforts in Games 4 and 5. He was terrific in the second half of Thursday's game, and basically willed the Rockets to victory.

Paul has a long injury history and played 38 minutes in Game 5 before the injury, which was so bad he could not get to the other end of the court to play defense. 

Eric Gordon likely slides into Paul's role, and it probably means more minutes for Gerald Green. It also likely means time on the floor for Luc Mbah a Moute or Ryan Anderson, forgotten men in this series. 

And while Paul's loss is a devastating blow, the Rockets might still be able to pull things out if James Harden can shake a ridiculous slump that has seen him miss 20 consecutive 3-pointers. If he can show up, have a big game and get some help from Gordon and the rest of the supporting cast, the Rockets might be able to get it done. 

If so, it will be without Paul, at least for Game 6 and probably beyond.

 

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