Nick Wright reveals how Chris Paul’s stellar Game 5 performance will change the perception of his career

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In his reaction to Houston eliminating the Utah Jazz in game five of round two of the 2018 Western Conference Playoffs, Nick Wright reacts to Chris Paul's stellar, 41-point night in the Rocket's 112-102 victory, revealing how CP3's performance and making his first conference finals will change the perception of his career.

- He is a great guy and a great player. I-- I believe when it is all said and done for Chris Paul, there will be two point guards, Magic and Oscar, clearly better than him. And then you will be able to make an argument for him versus everybody else-- Stockton, Isaiah, Kidd, Steph, Nash, whoever, Iverson, whomever you love.

I think Chris Paul has been on that type of trajectory since, basically, year two in New Orleans, since his amazing early success when he almost won a league MVP when his second-best player was David West. But you couldn't disregard the fact that no player in the history of the NBA had played more playoff games without making a conference finals.

That was there. That was a real thing. No matter what the advanced metrics say about him, no matter what all his teammates say about him, no matter what the eye test says about him, to be that great and to never make the Final Four was going to be a problem for him. Go ahead.

CRIS CARTER: So it's like he was the best player in golf. He's the best player not to win a major--

- Sure.

- --right? That's what's--

NICK WRIGHT: Absolutely.

- That's the way we could look at it.

- Absolutely, because I don't-- right now, I don't know if people would say Chris is the best player to never win a championship. But he certainly was, in my eyes, the greatest player in league history to never make a conference finals. And so, Jenna, the fact that he made it, but made it the way he did with the greatest offensive quarter of his career. Never did he score 20 in a quarter before last night.

The first 40-point, 10-assist, 0-turnover game in NBA playoff history, right? It had never happened before. So for him to make it and make it that way, I felt great about it. Because I do love this player and I think he deserves some postseason success.

- So we know the 41 points, and it stands out, and 20 points in the quarter, and that stands out. And that's great. How underrated is Chris Paul, defensively?

- Oh, he's an amazing defensive player. I think that when people talk about Chris Paul, that's one of the calling cards that-- we don't talk about it because he's in the west and now he's with Houston, but when you talk about Chris Paul, and the people that know basketball, when they talked about Chris Paul, they pull out the point you, Jenna-- one of the top-- one of the top defenders in the league and has been for over 10 years.

People don't talk about that, though. They like to talk about his lack of success. They talk about him and Doc Rivers not being able to get it done with the Clippers. But Chris Paul as a defender-- now, as we move on to the conference finals, whew, oh, we getting ready to see. Because him and Harden verse Klay and Steph, and not only Houston's ability to build a close game is a different way, which they did last night with Chris Paul. Their ability to be able to defend and defend the back court of Golden State is better than ever.

- And on the defensive point, which is a great point to bring up because, if you're not a rim defender, we don't have a lot of great metrics counting stats or advanced stats to quantify how good you are defensively. There's the steals category, but some people would say a lot of the guys that average the most steals are some of the worst defenders because it means they're gambling, they're out of position.

Chris Paul-- when we talk about the Rockets making the huge jump defensively between last year and this year, it is not just PJ Tucker and your guy, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. It's the best defensive point guard of a generation. That's who Chris Paul has been, first-team All-NBA defense year in, year out.

And you don't always get what you deserve in sports, but Chris Paul a few years ago hit a buzzer beater in Game 7 to beat the Spurs. And I thought, OK, well, that will remove all of the choker stuff from him. But it didn't. They blow a 3-1 lead. He had had the-- he had had the tough series against OKC at the end.

And so now, this does remove it. Now, we can say there's a lot of really good players who haven't been to the finals in this league. There weren't players at this level that hadn't been to the conference finals.

- Right, and even if they aren't able to get through Golden State, I don't think-- the same commentary that followed Chris Paul after hitting the game winner, I don't think it will follow him after facing one the best teams that we've seen in the conference final in Golden State, with them being in their fourth-straight conference final.

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