Clippers stun Warriors with biggest comeback in playoff history

Kevin Durant talks to head coach Steve Kerr. (Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 16 April 2019
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Clippers stun Warriors with biggest comeback in playoff history

  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he told his players at halftime, when they were down by 23 points, to not give up.

LOS ANGELES : The Los Angeles Clippers delivered the biggest comeback in NBA playoff history Monday, rallying from a 31-point deficit for a shocking 135-131 win over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.

Lou Williams scored 36 points and Montrezl Harrell nailed a couple of clutch late free throws as the Clippers surprised even themselves to square the first round playoff series at 1-1.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he told his players at halftime, when they were down by 23 points, to not give up.

“I said ‘We are going to win this game.’ I was honest with them. I said, ‘I don’t know how. Just hang in there with each other,”’ Rivers said.

“This is who we are. We hung in there long enough. We found a way to win the game.”

Williams also had 11 assists, going 13-of-22 from the field and eight-of-10 from the free throw line.

Game 3 is Thursday in Los Angeles.

The stretch drive featured the Clippers’ consistent mid-range game against the Warriors’ inconsistent three-point shooting. But fouls and injuries also worked against the Warriors in Game 2 of the first round series.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr described it as an epic meltdown.

“Once you lose momentum in a game, it is hard to get it back,” said Kerr. “We lost this game in the middle of the third quarter when we stopped playing.

“We got up by 31 and we shut down. We got exactly what we deserved.”

The Clippers topped the Los Angeles Lakers’ rally from a 29-point deficit to beat the Seattle Supersonics in 1989.

The Clippers also came back from being 27 points down in a playoff win over the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012.

“We changed a couple things offensively and defensively on the fly in the third,” Rivers said. “And it worked out for us.”

The Warriors got more bad news after the game when they learned center DeMarcus Cousins suffered a serious injury. Cousins injured his left quad in the first quarter and is expected to have an MRI scan done on it on Tuesday.

“It is a significant quad injury,” said Kerr without going into detail. “We will get an MRI done tomorrow. He is going to be out a while. It is significant.”

Williams drained a key jump shot over Klay Thompson with 46 seconds remaining after Curry had put the Warriors ahead 131-128 on a three-pointer 12 seconds earlier.

After Klay Thompson missed a shot from beyond the arc, Clippers Landry Shamet hit a three pointer with 16 seconds left for the game winner. Harrell sank two free throws with five seconds left to cap the scoring.

Elsewhere, Ben Simmons heard cheers instead of jeers Monday as the Philadelphia 76ers set a franchise record with 51 points in the third quarter en route to a 145-123 playoff win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Australia’s Simmons, who had criticized the Philadelphia fans’ booing in game one of the series, delivered a triple-double of 18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

He joined Wilt Chamberlain and Charles Barkley as the only Sixers to get multiple triple-doubles in the postseason, and this time he left to a standing ovation from the home fans.

Philadelphia grabbed command of the contest with a 51-point third quarter, a team record for most points in a quarter.

The Sixers also set a club record for most points in a playoff game, squaring their best-of-seven opening round series 1-1. Game 3 is on Thursday in New York.

Ailing Joel Embiid finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead Philadelphia, who shot 56 percent from the field. Embiid was a game-time decision due to a sore left knee.

“Everybody’s got to bring it,” Embiid said. “We need everybody.”

Tobias Harris added 19 points, JJ Redick scored 17, reserve center Boban Marjanovic had 16 and Mike Scott scored 15 for Philadelphia.

Spencer Dinwiddie scored 19 and D’Angelo Russell added 16 for the Nets, who set a team record for points allowed in a postseason game.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson got 15, while Caris LeVert and Shabazz Napier scored 13 each.


Leonard scores 35, Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 for 3-2 lead

Updated 24 May 2019
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Leonard scores 35, Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 for 3-2 lead

  • Leonard hit the 30-point mark for the fourth time in the series

MILWAUKEE: Kawhi Leonard scored 35 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 105-99 on Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
Leonard showed no obvious signs of the leg soreness that bothered him in Toronto’s victories in the previous two games, hitting the 30-point mark for the fourth time in the series. He made five 3-pointers and had seven rebounds and nine assists.
Fred VanVleet scored 21 points, hitting seven 3s. Kyle Lowry added 17 as the Raptors put themselves in position to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time. A victory at home Saturday would set up a matchup with two-time defending champion Golden State.
“This was a super-hard win tonight,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.
The Raptors battled out of an early 14-point hole, then got 15 points from Leonard in the fourth quarter to send the top-seeded Bucks to their first three-game losing streak of the season.
“We weathered the storm early,” Leonard said.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points for Milwaukee hours after being announced as a unanimous first-team, All-NBA selection. Eric Bledsoe scored 20 and Malcolm Brogdon added 18 points and 11 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup.
“It’s first to four. We’ve got to go to Toronto, get a game. I think the group will be ready,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
The Raptors were clinging to a two-point lead in the closing minute after Khris Middleton drove around Leonard on the baseline for a layup.
Toronto was initially called for a shot-clock violation when Leonard missed a fadeaway jumper with 35 seconds left. That got overturned by a replay review, and Brook Lopez was called for a foul, instead, for bumping Marc Gasol after he retrieved the loose ball.
Gasol hit both free throws to make it 100-97. Another replay review went in Toronto’s favor when officials determined a ball went out of bounds off Brogdon with 26.8 seconds left. Brogdon pulled his hand away, thinking his dribble had gone off Pascal Siakam’s foot.
Siakam then drove for a dunk, making it 102-97, and the Raptors hung on from there.
Milwaukee was leading 81-79 with about 8 1/2 minutes left when Leonard nailed back-to-back 3-pointers. He hit two free throws before Siakam threw down a put-back dunk to make it 89-81.
The Bucks tied it at 93-all with 2:44 left on a 3-pointer by Lopez. VanVleet answered with one of his own before Antetokounmpo threw down an alley-oop dunk to cut it to 96-95 with just over two minutes remaining.
The Bucks set a fast pace early on and led by 10 after the first quarter, delighting the towel-waving fans chanting “Fear The Deer! Fear the Deer!” They withstood a 16-2 run by Toronto to start the second, with Antetokounmpo nailing a 3 to stop it.
The Bucks also went on a 14-2 run early in the third, with the Greek Freak throwing down a hard dunk off a feed by Middleton for a 63-51 lead. But the Raptors got right back into it.

Tip-ins

Raptors: Lowry now has 1,126 points in 66 playoff games for Toronto, surpassing DeMar DeRozan (1,117) as the franchise’s postseason scoring leader.
Bucks: Brogdon started all 64 games he played in during the regular season, before missing basically all of the first two rounds because of a heel injury. With Brogdon back in the lineup, Nikola Mirotic came off the bench.

Up next

Game 6 is at Toronto on Saturday.