After a 16-game absence due to injury, Chris Paul is making his return to the Houston Rockets to provide some much-needed help for James Harden.
As much fun as it can be to watch James Harden essentially perform as a one-man basketball team, it hasn’t been good for the Houston Rockets. They are lucky enough to have the best pure scorer in the NBA — possibly of all time — but the reigning MVP can only win so many games on his own.
Luckily, Harden won’t have to carry the Rockets on his shoulders for much longer. Veteran point guard Chris Paul is set to make his return for Sunday night’s game against the Orlando Magic, coming back from a 16-game absence due to a hamstring injury.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni is confident that Paul will be good to go when he returns.
“I think he’s ready to go, we’re just being extra careful,” D’Antoni said, according to the Houston Chronicle.
In the 21 total games that Paul has missed this season, the Rockets have gone just 11-10. It certainly hasn’t been because of a lack of effort by Harden, who is averaging 36.2 points per game this year, and recently put up a season-high 61 points against the New York Knicks. Harden hasn’t scored less than 30 points in a game since Dec. 11.
But no superstar player can make a team thrive on his own, and Harden is greatly looking forward to having his right-hand man back on the court with him.
“It’ll be great,” Harden said. “We’ve been missing him, missing his leadership, his playmaking ability and his presence on the court.”
Paul will certainly give Houston a boost on offense, as he is averaging 15.6 points in the games he has played this year. The most important thing, however, is that he will take some of the workload off of Harden, who has to be running on fumes at this point.