The Houston Rockets will play host to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night for Game 7 of the Western Conference finals, with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line.

Game 7 Chris Paul
Game 7 of the Western Conference finals could hinge on the health of Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul. (Image: Getty)

With the back-and-forth series tied at three games apiece, both teams have reason to believe that they should win Game 7. But the biggest factor could be whether an injury will keep one of Houstons biggest stars from suiting up for the clash.

Will Chris Paul Play in Game 7?

Guard Chris Paul is still attempting to recover from a right hamstring strain that he suffered in the final minute of Houstons Game 5 victory. He sat out the sixth game of the series, and is listed as questionable to play on Monday night.

According to Rockets coach Mike DAntoni, Paul was responding well to the rehab process on Sunday, but has yet to actually test out his hamstring in basketball activities. Pauls availability will be determined by team doctors on Monday, with a final decision potentially coming just before tipoff.

I think its a game-time decision, whatever it is, probably doubtful or questionable, DAntoni told the Houston Chronicle on Sunday evening. They will eventually test it and see if there is any possibility whatsoever.

The Rockets certainly missed Paul in Game 6. Houston had been playing with a seven-man rotation, and with their starting point guard out of the lineup, DAntoni chose to play his other six key contributors more rather than give many minutes to the rest of his bench.

That may have contributed to fatigue issues for the Rockets. After jumping out to a 17-point lead in the first quarter, Houston struggled the rest of the way, and only scored a paltry 25 points in the second half.

But DAntoni pointed to another culprit to explain the 29-point defeat: turnovers.

I think the turnovers got them going, DAntoni said. And then once you get them going and they get out of the box, and we didnt communicate real well two or three times, and then they just got on a roll.

No Consistency for Golden State

Golden State has had some injury issues of their own. Andre Iguodala has missed the last three games with a left lateral leg contusion, and he has been ruled out of Game 7 as well. But the Warriors still have four All-Stars in the lineup, making their up-and-down play throughout the series somewhat puzzling to everyone, even their own coach.

I have no clue why our team is like this, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after Game 6. But this is kind of what we do. Were kind of up and down a little bit.

Warriors guard Klay Thompson said that theres no reason Golden State shouldnt win, provided they play up to their capabilities.

I feel like were the best team in the world and the most fun team to watch when were pushing that ball and getting defensive stops, Thompson told reporters.

The Warriors were already considered the favorite to win Game 7, and the uncertainty over Pauls health hasnt helped ease any concerns in the minds of bettors. According to online bookmaker Bovada, Golden State is a 6.5-point favorite in the deciding game despite being the visiting team.

The winner will go on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, after the Cavs defeated the Boston Celtics in their own Game 7 encounter on Sunday.

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