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Chris Paul injury: Clippers guard out for Game 1 with strained hamstring

The Clippers will be without CP3

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets will be facing the Los Angeles Clippers without their best player in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Chris Paul, the Point God, who willed the Clippers past the Spurs through his hamstring injury on Saturday, has been declared out by head coach Doc Rivers, citing an unwillingness to risk further injury. Rivers hasn't yet said who will start at point guard, but the smart money is on Doc Rivers, with Austin Rivers coming off the bench.

It's safe to say now that the Rockets need to win this game. Yes, you'd rather win with all the horses able to go on the other side, but this is a golden opportunity Houston can't pass up. Crawford is maybe 1/100th the defensive player Paul is, and Rivers is a two-way detriment.

The Clippers' offense will have to go through Blake Griffin at this point, and the problem of Jason Terry/Pablo Prigioni on defense just got a whole lot easier for tonight at least. The Rockets can focus all their attention on Griffin and shooters without having to worry about one of the game's great floor leaders carving them up.