Chris Paul says initial diversion alongside James Harden ‘felt natural’

1:31 AM ET


  • CloseESPN Staff Writer
    • Joined ESPNDallas.com in Sep 2009
    • Covers a Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks
    • Appears frequently on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM
  • CloseESPN Staff Writer
    • Covers a Oklahoma City Thunder for ESPN.com

TULSA, Okla. — A uninformed epoch strictly started for 3 of a NBA’s stars on Tuesday night during Tulsa’s BOK Center, as Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Chris Paul done their preseason debuts for their new teams following offseason trades.

Those 3 were a headliners in a Houston Rockets’ 104-97 feat over a Oklahoma City Thunder.

Paul had an 11-point, seven-assist, no-turnover opening in his initial NBA diversion movement with co-star James Harden. Anthony (19 points) and George (15 points) will have to wait to play with reigning joining MVP Russell Westbrook, who sat out as he recovers from a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left knee.

The Rockets, who played their unchanging revolution — save for resting haven core Nene Hilario — by a third quarter, scored 90 points in a initial 36 minutes. It was an encouraging, bomb start to a co-point ensure pairing of Paul and Harden, notwithstanding conjunction luminary sharpened a round quite well. The twin dished out 17 assists, while a Rockets’ regulars done 20 of 42 3-point attempts.

Paul deliberate a preseason opener a delay of his summer work with Harden, that enclosed a Drew League diversion and pickup round in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Houston, as good as a player-organized intentional minicamp in The Bahamas.

“It felt natural,” pronounced Paul, who had a take and a fast-break support to Harden for a trailing 3 in a opening seconds of a game. “We played a lot this summer, and we consider that helped, spending that time articulate about communicating and things like that. But we can always get better.”

Houston manager Mike D’Antoni’s devise is to substitute his stars’ minutes, personification Harden and Paul as a sole indicate ensure for about 14 mins per diversion each, while a other rests. Although, D’Antoni laughingly concurred that Harden’s “death stares” from a dais could means adjustments to that strategy.

However, Harden entirely enjoyed examination Paul perform Tuesday night, including during a four-minute, 10-second widen in a initial half when Paul had 5 assists on 3-pointers, highlighted by a between-the-legs plate to Eric Gordon.

“We’ve all watched him for a final 12, 13 years,” Harden pronounced of Paul. “Now he has substantially some-more space than he’s ever had. With a pick-and-roll and we have three, 4 shooters around you, it’s going to make his diversion a lot easier.”

Paul offering his take.

“It’s too most fun, man,” Paul said. “One thing I’ve always pronounced is, we can get somebody an open shot.”

Paul, a nine-time All-Star who pushed for an offseason trade from a LA Clippers, is only as vehement to infer that he can play off a ball, an event he has never had during his career. He considers it a oppulance to be means to mark adult in a dilemma on security when Harden triggers a offense, that will lead to Paul removing open spot-up shots and aggressive closeouts.

“It’s cool. It’s good. It’s great,” Paul said. “You do what we have to do on a teams that you’re on. That’s a approach a diversion is worked. I’m enjoying this, we know what we mean? It’s good not to have to be in a round shade any singular time.”

Meanwhile, Anthony scored a Thunder’s initial 10 points of a game, finishing with 19 points in 20 mins on 7 of 13 shooting. George scored his initial basket with a Thunder on a pushing layup in transition and finished with 15 points on 6 of 13 sharpened in 26 minutes.

Anthony sat a second half, with George personification a opening 5 mins of a third, scoring 8 of his 15 in a discerning burst. George strike a transition 3 and a well-spoken pull-up jumper and finished a tough expostulate to a bucket before holding a chair with 6:55 left in a third.

“It’s only rhythm,” George said. “Coach [Billy Donovan] is perplexing to tie myself in, perplexing to tie Melo in. And besides us two, there’s a lot of new faces in this group. That’s all it is — it’s perplexing to build on both ends. He’s reshaping and combining a new organisation himself, definition Coach. We’re all a organisation and we’re perplexing to figure this out on a fly. Once Russ comes back, we’ll start to trend how we’re going to demeanour and how we’re going to play.”

With Westbrook sitting, Anthony and George had their moments, though they also had some ungainly exchanges. Late in a initial half, Anthony, who had taken a bulk of a Thunder’s shots until that point, had a transparent line to a basket though inaugurated to flog a round to a lonesome George in a corner, where George dismissed adult a contested 3. Anthony patted his chest and told George after a play, “My bad.”

“I consider infrequently we were overthinking it a small bit, perplexing to be too unselfish,” Anthony said. “I know one time we had it on a wing and consider we had a wide-open shot, and we gave it to Paul, and he shot it with like 3 seconds to go. And we know how that feels, so we felt bad about that. But those are a things that we’ll get improved during and meaningful any other’s diversion and meaningful where guys are on a justice and removing some-more comfortable.”

Along with Westbrook, Patrick Patterson (knee) and Alex Abrines (knee) also sat out opposite Houston.

Steven Adams exited early in a third entertain and did not lapse after Harden pulled Adams down by a shoulder following a siphon fake. Adams walked solemnly off a building holding his reduce back, though he pronounced he felt fine, observant a pain was some-more in his “glute-ish” area. Harden was assessed a extreme tainted 1 on a play.

“I’ll be fine, mate,” Adams said. “They’re got me on some drugs, so I’ll be good to go.”


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