Klay Thompson cuts to the basket, gets the ball and finds Durant for the dunk and the faul.
This play makes it a 31 point lead in the 3rd quarter at home for one of the best teams ever assembled.
Which by default makes this improbable Clippers comeback-the greatest playoff comeback in NBA history.
In this short sequence, Jamychal Green shows exactly how this group of outcasts found themselves in the playoffs in the first place. Check out these 5 consecutive possessions.
First he follows the drive and gets the dunk.
The very next play, he recognizes the mismatch and where the ball is going. Steals the pass which leads to this transition opportunity where Green stays active again and grabs the loose ball, and finds the cutting Williams. It’s crazy what effort can do for you right?
Moving on tho, the very next possession, the Clippers get another steal, and in transition hits the three, bringing the lead down from impossible, to conceivable range. And to cap off this 2 minute takeover, Green once again reads the offense, makes the right choice of sagging off of bell to help out on the cutting Thompson, and is able to contest this shot and force the miss.
All of this is 100% energy and staying active even while being down big time.
And speaking of that, there is no better example than one of my favorite players Patrick Beverley.
Check out his level of defense, hard work and the reaction after getting the offensive foul from Durant while being down 25 points. This is crazy. Guys, you can’t teach energy, you can’t teach effort, and you can’t teach passion.
These are the things that make him a starter and a great contributor on an NBA playoff team.
If you saw game 1 you saw that it was the same story then, and KD again had some trouble battling him, in the 3rd quarter of this game as well.
What I like about the Clippers is that they stayed true to their identity and game plan.
Despite losing game 1, their strategy of forcing other guys to beat them was more than reasonable, so they continued trusting and executing it.
And on offense, you got a steady diet of midrange shots, which work for them since guys like Lou Will and Galinari are both great from this area. So analytics are great, and helpful and all, but you need to cator it to your team and your style of play. And Doc Rivers believes in his guys to make this type of shot which most teams try to eliminate.
So as they slowly chipped away at this lead, the Clippers cap off their mini run with this steal and the finish, and they head to the fourth down by 14.
And Golden State was in control of that same lead in the first 5 minutes of the 4th.
Until Patrick Beverley sparked yet another defensive avalanche.
Look at the intensity and the effort by all of the Clippers on defense.
Right here Beverley is able to recover and get back just enough to bother Curry on this shot and make him uncomfortable.
Look at Montrezl Harrell here. This is a center, moving and sticking to Curry, then rotating back, and the Clippers force a jump ball here.
And again, in a crucial possession, Montrezl with the great movement, is able beat KD to the spot, and gets the charge, stopping what could have been a game clinching basket.
These are things you don’t necessarily notice in the heat of the moment, but these little things are what add up and get you a win.
But besides that, he sure did a lot of things that you do notice, going absolutely crazy in the fourth and scoring 15 points along with 7 rebounds. Again, this is 15 and 7 in the last quarter alone. Dude straight up dominated on both ends of the court, and you wouldn’t be surprised by that if you saw my video where I talk about him and some other non flashy players that you need to follow.
Ok all of that brought the game all the way back close down the stretch. And in a situation like that, a killer like Lou Will smells blood and goes all out on the Warriors.
These are 3 consecutive possessions of him taking matters into his own hands. And when it mattered most in the clutch, he again went hero mode in another 2 consecutive plays.
Again, teams eliminate the midrange completely but that’s the bread and butter for Lou Will and he’s deadly from there.
So down by 1 you have a typical situation where fortune favors the brave, as the basketball gods award the Clippers for their fight. Thompson misses a completely wide open 3 and just moments later Landry Shamet, the rookie makes the biggest shot in his career.
And again, to seal the deal the same way the came back, Harrell once again plays great defense against Curry on the switch, contesting the shot, forcing the miss, and then as a 64% free throw shooter in the season, steps to the line and calmly sinks the 2 free throws for the win which is almost shocking to me all things considered.
The Los Angeles Clippers executed the greatest playoff comeback in NBA history, and I can only imagine what kind of a war zone the Staples Center is going to be for game 3.