Clippers' Chris Paul (hamstring) ruled out for Game 1 against Rockets

HOUSTON -- Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul has been ruled out for Monday night's Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal series with the Houston Rockets.

Paul, who suffered a hamstring strain in a Game 7 win over theĀ San Antonio Spurs, had been listed as "questionable" for Monday's game, and considered a game-time decision.

"He's alive," Rivers joked when asked about Paul's status Monday afternoon. "He's going to go through shootaround, and we'll figure it out afterwards."

Paul, who has been getting around-the-clock treatment since suffering the left hamstring injury in Saturday's series-clinching win over the Spurs, wasn't wearing socks or his normal game shoes during shootaround. He sat at the scorer's table while his teammates warmed up and did not address the media as he normally does before game-day shootarounds.

Rivers said he would be more cautious with Paul because of the quick turnaround and given that it's the first game of a seven-game series.

"You have to be careful," Rivers said. "If there's any risk, he won't play, I can tell you that right now. I just don't know yet."

Paul grabbed his left hamstring right before hitting a 3-pointer to give the Clippers a 23-22 lead with 2:11 remaining in the first quarter and exited 20 seconds later. He looked to be in tears as his head was buried in his hands while Powell talked to him and sent him back to the locker room.

Paul returned in the second quarter but was limping noticeably throughout the game and occasionally grabbed his left hamstring. He finished with 27 points -- including the winning shot with 1 second left -- and six assists.

"Yeah, I'm going to get with our training staff," Paul said after the game. "I know my grandmother back in North Carolina is praying right now. She's praying, and she'll let my mom pray over it and all that, too, and it will be all right."

Paul, who turns 30 on Wednesday, averaged 19.1 points, 10.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game this season. This was the first time in his 10-year NBA career he started all 82 games during the regular season.