The Houston Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 100-87 in Game 4 of their second-round NBA Western Conference playoff series Sunday, putting them up three games to one in the series. But Rockets’ point guard Chris Paul wasn’t resting on his laurels afterwards, and in a postgame interview with TNT’s Kristen Ledlow, he looked back at how he and his former team, the Los Angeles Clippers, were up 3-1 on the Rockets in the 2014-15 conference semifinals before losing that series 4-3.
Rockets’ Chris Paul after Game 4 win over Jazz: “I’ve been here before, 3-1. S— went bad real quick.” pic.twitter.com/8LjL7FZVTQ
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 7, 2018
That’s pretty funny, but it’s also a valuable statement from Paul. 3-1 series leads may be intimidating, but they’re far from safe, and he knows that all too well. And he’s been in some tough fights with the Jazz before, including a seven-game first-round loss to them with the Clippers last year. (The Clippers’ biggest lead in that series was only 2-1, though.) So it makes sense not to count any chickens before they emerge, even if Paul did so in rather colorful fashion.
By the book, the Rockets are in excellent shape here. They went an NBA-best 65-17 this year, while the Jazz finished 48-34, and they’ve won games in this series 110-96 (Game 1), 113-92 (Game 3) and 100-87 (Game 4). They also won the regular season series 4-0. But Utah did put up an impressive 116-108 road win in Game 2, and nothing is ever assured in the playoffs. So it makes sense for Paul to not be looking past the Jazz at this point. It’s just particularly notable that he found this particular way to say that.
[Ben Golliver on Twitter]