According to Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated, Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said Paul didn't play in crunch time "because knee injury had him playing 'on one leg' and 'dragging.'"
Paul doesn't get the type of attention he deserves as one of the league's most valuable contributors at both ends of the floor. That's likely because he's been consistently good for so long. He ranked third among point guards in player efficiency rating with the Los Angeles Clippers last season before his offseason trade to the Rockets.
The 32-year-old Wake Forest product missed a stretch of games last year because of a hamstring injury and also dealt with a few thumb issues during his final season with the Clips. Although that amounted to 21 games on the sidelines, he has only missed eight contests combined over the prior two years.
If Paul is forced out of the lineup with the latest ailment, James Harden will once again serve as Houston's primary ball-handler like he did last season. It would also open up additional playing time for Eric Gordon and Bobby Brown.
Ultimately, even though that's a solid group of reserve options, the Rockets likely won't be able to replicate what Paul brings to the game when he's at full strength. The team will hope he's healthy and clicking on all cylinders when the playoffs eventually roll around.