That's where things stand going into Saturday's Game 6.
The Rockets head to Oakland for Game 6 on Saturday night a win away from knocking off the defending champions and advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 1994-95. It was Paul's third 3-pointer of the quarter.
Paul was injured in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's victory that gave the Rockets a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals. Tell us who was clutch in the comments!
While Harden and Paul struggled, PJ Tucker held down the fort for Houston in the first half.
Let's just hope Chris Paul is available to shimmy again in these playoffs. "There is pressure on everybody".
Whether D'Antoni is actually right about that remains to be seen.
Harden said the Rockets don't have time to dwell on the absence of their nine-time All-Star. Golden State owns a 2-1 edge.
Before Chris Paul went down with a hamstring injury in the closing moments of Houston's Game 5 win over the Golden State Warriors, he was having one of the high points of his National Basketball Association career. Houston was already operating on a thin margin; the Rockets have essentially employed a six-man rotation the past two games, with Gerald Green getting about 15 minutes as the seventh man.
The last three NBA Finals have featured LeBron James-who has appeared in seven consecutive Finals-and the Cavaliers against Stephen Curry and the Warriors. Instead, Kerr has had to use Quinn Cook, who ended up missing a pivotal 3-point attempt in the closing minute of Game 5.
The Warriors opened as a 10.5-point favorite for Game 6 at several sportsbooks.
The Warriors have won two out of the last three National Basketball Association titles and are widely considered to be the best team in the league since the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls.
The Curry-Paul rivalry dates back through Paul's time with the Los Angeles Clippers, and Curry recently referred to Paul as a great mentor.
Despite the loss and facing elimination, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he wasn't anxious. "That may sound insane but I feel it. I know what I'm seeing out there". "We need a new challenge".