Is Harden Better with Paul off the Court?
After suffering a strain to his left hamstring, Chris Paul has been on a day-to-day recovery time table but was recently given a projected return in mid January. Sitting on the bench unfortunately, is nothing new for the Houston Rocket point guard. Paul’s 2018 playoff run was also cut short due to a leg injury that he suffered in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals per CBS Sports.
Although Chris Paul has not been the easiest to play with, his presence on the court has definitely been the factor that has elevated his team over others to get the win. Even his success as a Clipper depended on whether or not he was in the lineup. However, that hasn’t been the case since Chris Paul’s arrival in Houston. He is now part of a dynamic duo made up of him and James Harden. Since Harden has been in the league he has been nothing but amazing. In this season alone he has been making his case to be considered for the MVP of the league. Over the last 10 games the beard has been averaging 40.8 ppg, Bleacher Report announced on Tuesday which put him at the head of the MVP race.
With all this recent success, people have begun to question whether or not Chris Paul’s absence is what’s causing a surge in Harden’s game. Since December 22nd, Harden has been the go-to player who runs the plays on offense and the defensive lock their team needs. Being the floor general has allowed him to drain at least 35 points a night.
In this new year, Harden has been on the right side of history as he was able to force overtime and then later hit the game winning three over three Warrior defenders. Earlier in the year after notching a 127-113 over the Celtics, Harden told Boston reporters, “ I receive a lot of hate. It won’t stop me from going out there and killing every night.” Even though his 40 points a night streak was broken over the weekend due to shots not falling it has been mesmerizing to watch. As a fan of the game it is also great in the sense that Harden is impacting the level at which all other teams are playing at.
So, to say that Harden is better with Paul off the court may be a little ambiguous but it isn’t a wrong statement. Harden has taken over and elevated his game to a new height. It will be interesting to see what happens as the team continues this push into the postseason and whether or not the duo of Paul and Harden will be successful together. For now, we can only sit back and wait for tip!