The New Orleans Hornets need Chris Paul so badly that he probably needs to play the entire game for them to have a chance. Case-in point: Paul played 40 minutes Tuesday night, but he needed to take a three-minute break at the beginning of the fourth quarter because he was gassed. The game was starting to slip away even before he went out, but by the time he got back in, the Hornets had a deficit they couldn't overcome.
In the end, Paul was outstanding of course. How many players can drop 20 points and 12 assists and have it be only their third-best game of a five-game series? But outstanding isn't enough to counteract a team that lacks talent and a frontcourt that got completely dominated. Paul didn't have a triple-double; therefore, his team lost.
Obviously, Paul can't will Emeka Okafor to actually grab a rebound, nor can he cause Carl Landry to grow three inches. Nothing that happened is Chris Paul's fault. But it is still interesting that he didn't play the entire second half. The playoffs have longer and more frequent timeouts, and there are no back-to-back games. The games may be more intense, but there's also more time to recover from them. And yet, Paul still had to sit out three minutes during a time when the game was starting to slip away.
I don't know whether to pin that on Paul or Monty Williams. Paul did seem a bit tired when coming to the bench, but Williams probably could have given him a breather by calling a timeout. It was probably a bit of both. All I know is that the Hornets have no chance when Paul is merely good or when he merely plays 40 minutes a game. It's unfair, but it's how it is.