In the final minutes of Game 6 against the Houston Rockets which took place on Monday, Chris Paul saved the Oklahoma City Thunder from getting eliminated from the NBA bubble. He first threw back-to-back three-pointers which tied Game 6 and then scored several free throws which gave the Thunder a good lead in a 104-100 victory.
“This is who we are,” Paul said afterward. “We’re built for stuff like this. A lot of guys on our team have been pushed out, traded, or whatnot, but we just stick together and we keep fighting.”
Chris Paul managed to score 28 points within 40 minutes with zero turnovers. According to statistics, Paul now had four career playoff games with 25-plus points and zero turnovers. It sets the bar for a crucial Game 7 which is against Houston Rockets once again.
City Thunder Chris Paul’s clutch helps
Houston Rockets has been Chris Paul’s former team as well but this does not serve as extra motivation for him. “Game 6 was against the Rockets. Just to be honest with you,” he said. “When you’re as competitive as myself and the guys on our team, it don’t matter if it was my mom and my aunty, we wanna hoop, we wanna win. Yes, it was the team I played for last year, but regardless, its gonna be the same energy no matter who it is.”
The Thunder have become quite famous for their crunch-time wins. In the current series, the Thunder have outscored the Rockets 42-31 in clutch time (the last five minutes of a game within 5 points). It has been their strategy for all the games this season and they have 33 clutch-time wins in total, the most in NBA.
“He’s got unbelievable basketball IQ,” Billy Donovan, the coach for Oklahoma City Thunder, said referring to Paul. “He’s incredibly smart. He’s a great competitor. He’s got an incredible will to win. When you have a guy with that kind of mind, manipulating and surveying the court like he does, he did an incredible job. He was spectacular.”
Paul being the president of the players’ union required unprecedented leadership in last week’s strike. In just a matter of days, he has successfully managed to save the league.
On Wednesday, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets will face each other once again for a ride-or-die Game 7. The winner will have to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the next game while the loser will have to pack their bags and head home.