Chris Paul will return Friday against the Rockets for Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals, according to Orange County Register's Dan Woike. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said Paul will be on a minutes restriction.
Paul missed the first two games in the series, currently tied 1-1, after straining his left hamstring in last week's Game 7 win over San Antonio. Paul visibly tweaked the muscle twice but returned to the game in both instances, eventually hitting the game winner over Tim Duncan with one second remaining.
In his absence, Austin Rivers has started both games at point guard. He has played surprisingly well, combining for 27 points in the two games, but he's no replacement for what Paul brings to the team. Without Paul, the Clippers have run much of their offense through Blake Griffin, who has played incredibly well. However, the Rockets were able to slow him down by playing him small Wednesday.
Chris Paul's return can help alleviate that if he's on the floor and at full strength. He'll be able to punish Houston's guards and steady an offense that has committed way too many turnovers so far this series.