A year ago today, the LA Clippers would overcome a 31-point deficit against the defending champs to have their names etched into the history books.
Although it is a hard moment in the history of Clippers basketball to forget, there is still plenty to be said about the 31-point comeback the LA Clippers made against the defending champions in the Golden State Warriors back in 2019. It continues to be the biggest comeback in NBA Playoffs history, and the Clippers can say that their horrid past is finally mostly behind them with that in the record books.
April 15 was the day that most LA Clippers fans remember as the day the NBA world was flipped upside down for them. There were plenty of great Clippers teams before the 2019 playoffs, and those teams were capable of pulling off some epic comebacks like the twenty-seven pointer in Memphis back in 2012, but none of those Clippers teams felt like the miracle Clips of 2019. Everything leading up to that comeback was almost just as improbable like winning forty-eight games with no stars and no one from Lob City.
The Clippers even traded away one of their best pieces in Tobias Harris to Philadelphia in return for Landry Shamet, Mike Muscala, and Wilson Chandler. Muscala turned into Michael Beasley and Ivica Zubac, and from there, the team really took flight.
The comeback in and of itself started off very early as the Clippers struggled mightily in the first half, but at 7:24 in the 3rd Quarter, JaMychal Green slammed home a dunk that would result in a surge of Clippers points leading into the 4th Quarter with about .45 seconds on the clock. All the way from thirty-one points down to just a one-point lead for Golden State, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander passed off to Shamet, the prospect that no one would have guessed to be a hero in the playoffs, and he called “Bingo” with 15.9 seconds on the clock and a dagger of a three-pointer. From there, Montrezl Harrell would put away two free-throws and that would do it for a 135-131 Game Two win for the Clippers.
Looking back at the boxscore, there are plenty of heroes that led the Clippers back from the “dead” besides those already mentioned. For the starters, Danilo Gallinari dropped 24 points with 6 assists and 4 rebounds while Patrick Beverley and Shamet dropped 10 and 12 points respectively. Off the bench, Lou Williams smoked everyone on Golden State with a double-double line of 36 points, 11 assists, and 2 rebounds while his partner in Harrell scored his own double-double with 25 points, 2 assists, and 10 rebounds. Green also put up thirteen points in this amazing victory, and those are the names that will forever be remembered as part of the squad that embarrassed a dynasty on their own court.
Even Stephen Curry banking 29 points alongside Kevin Durant‘s 21 points couldn’t put the Clippers in a deep enough hole to be completely out. Head Coach Doc Rivers loved their given nickname as “roaches” as they were the team that just would not die, and they would never give in under the pressure of an enormous deficit.
To end off, that 2018-2019 LA Clippers squad was incredibly special at any point in the season, but the 31-point comeback over Golden State was arguably the most special memory that anyone could have of that season. Long time Clippers broadcaster Ralph Lawler on the mic for one last playoff series also made this game just that much more special, but almost nothing can put a cherry on top of what this win meant for the Clippers.
They defied the consensus of an easy sweep for the Warriors and took them to six-games, and that would turn around to be quite the attractive team for two stars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to join in the off-season. Heck, it should be a holiday, and let me be the first to wish Clipper Nation a Happy Comeback Day.