Chris Paul is officially questionable for the Rockets’ Game 7 against the Golden State Warriors on Monday, but Houston coach Mike D’Antoni expressed doubt about Paul’s availability as the guard recovers from a right hamstring injury.
“I think it’s a game-time decision,” D’Antoni told reporters Sunday. “Probably doubtful, or however they listed it, or questionable. They will eventually test it and see if there’s any possibility whatsoever.”
Paul, 33, missed Houston’s Game 6 loss on Saturday — a 115-86 blowout by Golden State despite the Rockets holding a 17-point lead in the first quarter — after sustaining the injury in the waning moments of the Rockets’ Game 5 win over the Warriors on Thursday. He hasn’t yet tested the hamstring, according to D’Antoni.
“He’s just been getting treatment and trying to make sure it calms down and everything,” D’Antoni said. “I would think the doctors and trainers are working on him 24 hours a day almost. They will (Monday) morning re-evaluate it again, probably (Monday) afternoon again.”
Paul missed 24 games during the regular season, during which Houston went 15-9, including 15-6 when both James Harden and Clint Capela played. Paul has averaged 21.1 points, 5.8 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game during the postseason. He averaged 37 minutes over the first five games of the series against Golden State, scoring 47 combined points in victories in Games 4 and 5.
D’Antoni told reporters the Rockets don’t plan to hide Paul’s status to keep their opponent off-balance leading up to Monday’s elimination game.
“We’re not going to be coy with it,” D’Antoni said. “As soon as we know, we’ll say it, but we might not know until the afternoon (when we) see how it goes or he tests it out. But we’ll have to kind of play it by ear for now.”
On the Warriors’ injury report, swingman Andre Iguodala is once again questionable to play after missing Games 5 and 6 with a bone bruise in his left knee. However, Golden State coach Steve Kerr told reporters Saturday night the team is “operating under the assumption that he will not play.”
Iguodala’s replacement in the starting lineup, forward Kevon Looney, is questionable for Game 7 due to a sore left toe. Looney will be a game-time decision.
Looney, 22, tallied four points, seven rebounds and two steals in 19 minutes in Game 6 before being pulled with 3:25 to play in the fourth quarter, about a minute after he had re-entered the game to end forward Draymond Green’s night with the contest comfortably decided.
Warriors guard Patrick McCaw, who returned on Saturday from a two-month absence caused by a lower-back injury, is listed as probable for Game 7. The 22-year-old scored two points and grabbed two rebounds and a steal in four minutes in Game 6.
Game 7 tips at 9 p.m. ET on Monday in Houston, with the winner advancing to the NBA Finals.
—Field Level Media