Chris Paul, the NBA’s most consistent point guard for the better part of the last decade, took another devastating defeat Sunday night, blowing a 3-1 series lead against the Houston Rockets. Failing to reach the Conference Finals again, Paul uttered out at the post game press conference, a classic line from a Will Ferrell movie. “Like Ricky Bobby said, ‘If you’re not first, you’re last,” a motto that can easily be applied to Paul, once again unable to reach a Conference Final.
The newly turned 30 year old has proven time and time again that statistically, he is..if not one the best point guards we have seen on the court for quite some time. And while Paul has had experience in the playoffs before, early exits are halting his game from further developing. “…I’m sorry, but I don’t really see growth in a loss.” This second round knockout marks the seventh time in his ten year career that he will not be suiting up past the second round. Although Paul won’t be playing again this season, he surely made this last game count. Dropping 26 points with 5 rebounds and 10 assists, Paul was 5 rebounds short from a triple double. Paul has more NBA All Star appearances without a conference final ever, other than Dominique Williams.
Prior to the second round match-up with the Rockets, the Clippers had their hands full to open up the playoffs, taking on Tim Duncan and the rest of the dominate San Antonio Spurs. The gripping opening battle between San Antonio and Los Angeles went the distance, with Paul and his Clippers reaching the Quarter Finals after a seventh game victory. Although LA made it to the second round, it was clear from the beginning that the Spurs had worn down the Clippers in their opening round encounter.
Paul isn’t the only one on the Clippers roster who knows about defeat. Doc Rivers, the former Boston Celtics Head Coach, played 13 seasons without winning a title. Rivers ultimately went on to win a title as a coach, so who knows what the basketball God’s have in store for the rest of Paul’s career. When it’s all said and done, and the playing days of 2005 first round draft pick Chris Paul are finally over, we will see if hangs ’em up with a Conference Final title, alongside an NBA Championship.