Chris Paul, Rockets Teammates Exiled Coaches for Players-Only Huddle in Nets Win

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2018

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 2: Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets on November 2, 2018 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

With the Houston Rockets in danger of dropping to 1-6, Chris Paul helped spark his team Friday night by holding a players-only huddle...during the game.

As Houston trailed the Brooklyn Nets by 14, Paul asked his coaches to stay out of a huddle during a timeout in the second quarter so the players could try to work things out on their own.

"We've been playing a lot of games now, and the coaches try to do schemes," Paul said, per ESPN's Ian Begley. "We just said, 'Y'all stay out a second. Let us talk.' I mean, at some point enough is enough. We talked about it as a team. 'What are we going to do?' They were just scoring every time down. ...[Coaches] can tell us all the schemes they want to. It's up to us to figure out how we're going to get a stop."

Whatever was said in the huddle worked. The Rockets trailed 57-43 with less than three minutes until halftime at that point; from there on out, they outscored the Nets 76-54. That included trimming a 14-point deficit down to just five entering the break.

Paul led all scorers with 32 points and added 11 assists and seven rebounds, and coach Mike D'Antoni applauded his leadership:

"That's who Chris Paul is. When times are tough—and he knew times were tough—he had to find even more within himself, and he did. That's why he's one of the best. He just has an unbelievable spirit that won't let you lose."

First-year Rocket Carmelo Anthony, who went off for a season-high 28 points in 31 minutes off the bench, found the in-game discussion to be productive as well.

"We was talking, we was yelling, cursing," Anthony said. "It was something that we had to figure out, and we did that."

The Rockets are coming off a season in which they posted the best record in the NBA (65-17) and came within one game of the NBA Finals, but an offseason of changes that included the addition of Anthony and the losses of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute has the team trying to adjust. Paul also missed two games with a suspension, and last year's MVP, James Harden, has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury.

Houston is back in action Saturday night against the 2-7 Chicago Bulls.

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