There’s a first time for everything, and that was certainly the case for Golden State Warriors point guard Chris Paul as the future Hall of Famer came off the bench for the first time in his 19-season career during the Warriors’ 106-95 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
Up until Sunday, Paul had started 1,365 career games, which includes the playoffs and the regular season which was the most consecutive starts to begin a career before coming off the bench for the very first time since 1970-1971.
“It’s whatever I’ve got to do to help our team win,” Paul said to NBA journalists following the game, according to ESPN’s Kendra Andrews. “So if that means this, if it means not finishing some games or whatnot, you know, if you get a chance to play long enough in your career, there’s things that’s going to change, there’s things that’s going to be different and I’m here.”
“It was definitely different,” Paul said of the experience of coming off the bench. “But at the end of the day it’s basketball.”
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr praised Paul for his selflessness in coming off the bench.
“It’s massive the way Chris has embraced everything,” Kerr said. “He just nodded his head and said: ‘Let’s go get ’em.’ Not ever a big deal. When a vet, great player, All-Star shows that kind of sacrifice it just sets the tone for the whole team.”
Paul finished with 8 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and a steal.