The Rockets rolled with the punches throughout opening night, and despite numerous runs from the Warriors, they ended up with a 122-121 win at Oracle. They escaped a Kevin Durant . Had Durant released the ball a split-second earlier, the Rockets would be 0-1 on the season. A win is a win -- no matter how it happens.
However, there was something odd about Houston as it closed out the game. Chris Paul sat on the bench while the Rockets made their final push. He did struggle for a lot of the game, but it seemed strange to leave their biggest summer acquisition off the floor in such a key moment.
Mike D'Antoni cleared up the confusion after the game. Chris Paul was playing through a knee injury and D'Antoni decided to sit him late in the fourth quarter because of it.
Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni says Chris Paul sat down the stretch because knee injury had him playing “on one leg” and “dragging.”— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 18, 2017
It's a little concerning to hear D'Antoni say that Paul was playing on one leg in the season opener, but he doesn't seem to be too worried about it. If Paul is healthy enough to play then that's what he's going to do. If he feels the need to sit out then he'll do that as well.
The Rockets will need Paul at some point this season and they'll want him to be healthy. If sitting out during the fourth quarter of opening night was needed to keep him healthy in the long run, then it was the right call. The real concern will be how long this injury nags him. If it lingers all season, then Houston might need to sit Paul early in more than just one game.