The Golden State Warriors had it all working, building a 31-point lead against the Clippers in Game 2. And then they blew it.
It took back-to-back 40 point quarters, building to an 85-point second half. It took 22 Warriors turnovers, nine from Kevin Durant. It took Durant fouling out and 85 points from Danilo Gallinari, Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams. It took the Clippers two rookies, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Landry Shamet, connecting for a key 3-pointer. It took big play after big play after big play.
But they did it.
After trailing by 31 points, the Clippers completed one of the most improbable comebacks in NBA playoff history and won Game 2 on the road over the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors shooters are just ridiculous. Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry only needed 37 shot attempts to put up 67 points. Combined, they posted a true shooting percentage of 70.4. But they also combined for 13 turnovers (and Draymond Green chipped in another 4) and, unfortunately…
…The Clippers were even more ridiculous. Harrell, Gallinari and Williams combined for 85 points on a 72 true shooting percentage. They were relentless down the stretch, making every big play and securing every loose ball. Golden State has had no answer for the pick-and-roll chemistry of Harrell and Williams so far in this series and tonight the other pieces came together for the Clippers in a way they didn’t in Game 1. Gilgeous-Alexander had 5 assists, 4 steals and just one turnover. Shamet had 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and hit 4-of-9 3-pointers. Again, those are two rookies, on the road. JaMychal Green had 13 points and 7 rebounds, missing just one shot from the field. Patrick Beverly’s defense was a thing of beauty. It took everything they had but the Clippers established that they can beat the Warriors, no matter what the odds are.
Fingers crossed for DeMarcus Cousins. Boogie went down with a non-contact injury just a few minutes into the first quarter. Chasing a loose ball in the open court, he fell, clutching his left quad. Cousins immediately went to the locker room and word from the Warriors was that he would get an MRI in the next 24 hours. It would be a huge bummer to see such an immense talent leveled by another injury, just months after he returned to the court from last year’s Achilles’ tear. Here’s hoping it’s not nearly as bad as it looked. However… …the Warriors might be better off. As callous as it seems, Golden State might be even better with Cousins removed from the equation. The Warriors were about 2.4 points per 100 possessions better with him on the bench during the regular season and his passive defense was repeatedly exposed by Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams in Game 1. Without the option of playing him, Steve Kerr can continue handing those minutes to Kevan Looney and Andrew Bogut without worrying about any negative ramifications to team chemistry.