bleacherreport.com photo: The Los Angeles Clippers routed Golden State Warriors, erasing a 31-point deficit in Game 2 at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Monday night. The series moves to Staples Center in Los Angeles for Game 3 on Wednesday night.
By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors were riding high, leading the Los Angeles Clippers 73-50 at halftime.
Warriors point guard Stephen Curry led all scorers with 22 points in the first half on 6-of-9 shooting, 4-of-7 from three, and 6-for-6 from the foul line. But in the second half, Curry scored just seven points.
Then the roof caved in.
Golden State couldn’t hold on to its 31-point lead that they built up in the third quarter after starting the frame scoring 21 points on 9-for-9 shooting off eight assists, and saw the Los Angeles Clippers complete the largest postseason comeback in NBA history by shocking the Warriors, 135-131, to take Game 2 of their first-round series to even the best-of-7 series at one game apiece.
Rookie Landry Shamet hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 16.5 seconds remaining to complete the Clippers’ historic comeback over the Warriors.
The Clippers outscored Golden State 85-58 in the second half. In the third quarter alone, Los Angeles outscored Golden State 44-35. The 44 points were the most in a postseason quarter for Los Angeles.
The series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 this Thursday night from Staple Center.
Oh yeah, the Warriors lost center DeMarcus Cousins with what is being reported as a “significant” quad injury for an “extended period of time.”
Cousins injured his left quad muscle after diving to the floor following a steal in the first quarter. Cousins immediately grabbed his left side and limped off the floor and into the locker room.
An MRI for Cousins is scheduled for Tuesday, but it is feared that Cousins will miss the rest of the series if not, the remainder of the Warriors’ playoff run.
Before Warriors fans hit the panic button, let me put you at ease: the Warriors will still win this series. I know that’s not nothing new, but its just reassurance from me.
Sure, the top-seeded Warriors were punched in the mouth by the eighth-seeded Clippers on Monday night behind a career-high 36 points and 11 assists from Lou Williams and 25 points from Montrezl Harrell, but it did take a herculean effort for Los Angeles to take down the two-time defending NBA champions in front of a frenzied, sold out Oracle Arena crowd.
Clippers starting point guard Patrick Beverley, who continues to be the team’s biggest mouthpiece, has clearly made life difficult for Kevin Durant in this series. Beverley has been irritating (in a good way) Durant at every point, and even gotten the two of them ejected from Game 1.
You expect Durant, who had 21 points, five rebound and five assists in Game 2 before fouling out, to bounce back in Game 3. Durant finished with more turnovers (9) than shot attempts (8), but shot 11-of-12 from the free throw line.
Klay Thompson scored 17 points and Draymond Green had 14 points with nine assists.
Golden State committed 21 turnovers in Game 1, then follow up with 22 more on Monday night. The Warriors have been flat out sloppy in protecting the basketball.
When the Warriors protect the basketball and limit the turnovers, they are nearly unbeatable. Golden State got away with that in Game 1, but got caught with their hand in the cookie jar in Game 2.
The Clippers made Golden State pay this time around.
Even in the defeat, one positive the Warriors can take from this loss was the game that backup center Kevon Looney had. After Cousins left the game, Looney played big, finishing with a career-high 19 points and making all six shot attempts.
Looney will most certainly start Game 3 in Cousins’ absence. Looney did make 24 starts this season for the Warriors and will look to build off his breakout performance.
Instead of the projected four-game sweep that everyone penciled for Golden State, the Warriors will end the series in five or six games.
The Clippers exasperated all their energy in securing Game 2 and after stealing a game that they had no business of winning, Los Angeles has gotten the Warriors’ full attention and are beaming with confidence.
That’s not a good thing.