Game 7s are the greatest spectacle in sports, and there is plenty of drama leading up to the Golden State Warriors showdown with the Houston Rockets to determine the Western Conference representative in the NBA Finals.
All eyes will be on how the Rockets respond on their home court after suffering a second-half dismantling in Oakland. Game 6 began as if the Rockets would punch their ticket to the next round, but the Warriors recovered with a phenomenal second-half performance to prolong their season.
What remains to be seen is if each team will get one of their key pieces back for the biggest game of their seasons thus far.
Andre Iguodala has not played since game 3 of this series after exiting that game after colliding knees with James Harden.
After their game 6 victory, Steve Kerr re-emphasized that Iguodala remains day-to-day with his lateral left leg contusion.
However, Kerr also elaborated that the team is assuming that he will not be playing in game 7, although that situation does seem extremely fluid.
The Rockets are facing similar uncertainty with the status of Chris Paul, although the team sounded less pessimistic than the Warriors did about Iguodala returning.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN has an interesting story about it. Mike D’Antoni said nothing about operating as if Paul wasn’t going to be able to play and instead labeled Paul as a game-time decision.
He mentioned that the assessment wasn’t gamesmanship or an attempt to be coy and that they’d be more direct about Paul’s status the moment they have more clarity.
It seems as though the team actually does have no idea about how Paul’s recovery is going to progress these next handful of hours before game 7.
D’Antoni said that Paul hasn’t tested the hamstring by running or working out since suffering the injury near the end of game 5.
There’s no way of knowing Paul’s status for game 7 until he tests out the hamstring, and D’Antoni said the team will reevaluate Paul on Monday morning and probably Monday afternoon as well.
Obviously, if each player is physically able to play, they’ll be out on the court for such a crucial game. Basketball fans around the world deserve to see these two great teams battle each other without any significant absences from key players.
If Iguodala and Paul return, they may not necessarily be at full strength, but their presence will certainly make an already exciting game that much more compelling.