Houston Rockets: Eric Gordon is the key to closing out the Golden State Warriors

NBA Trade Rumors Houston Rockets Eric Gordon (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
NBA Trade Rumors Houston Rockets Eric Gordon (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The most important Houston Rockets player not named James Harden that will help them get to the NBA Finals is Eric Gordon 

The Houston Rockets are one game away from advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1995, when they swept the Orlando Magic in four games to win the Championship that season.

After beating the Warriors two games in a row, the Rockets are in great shape to win the Western Conference title and advance to the Finals. At least they were in great shape until the final minute of Game 5 when Chris Paul strained his hamstring.

He is listed as out for Game 6 which could lessen the confidence for the Rockets to win.

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Houston has played without Paul for 24 games this season, much of those due to injury. During those games, the Rockets have gone 15-9. None of those games were against the Golden State Warriors.

Despite James Harden’s two-game shooting slump (3-23 from 3), he is the player that is expected to lead the Rockets in Game 6. With Paul out next game, another player needs to step up their production.

That player needs to be Eric Gordon. He is averaging 18 points per game this season but has been inconsistent these playoffs. Gordon needs to build off of his Game 5 performance of 24 points to take some of the load off of Harden.

Gordon, who is a finalist for Sixth Man of the Year, will be asked to play more point guard in Paul’s absent. The good news for Houston is Gordon has increased his scoring when inserted into the starting lineup. As a starter, Gordon has scored 21.5 points per game and averaged 3.4 assists. The Rockets also have a record of 20-10 in Gordon’s starts this season.

Gordon has to mix up his outside shot with attacking the rim while playing under control. If he comes out and forces shots up then it is going to be a long night for him and the Rockets.

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The Houston Rockets have already proven they are able to win on the road. It is going to be a bigger task without Paul. If they are not able to win Game 6 then they have another chance to close out the Warriors at home for Game 7.