The LA Clippers pulled off the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history on Monday, rallying from 31 points down midway through the third quarter to shock the Golden State Warriors in Game 2, 135-131.
Those are the raw facts and they speak for themselves. Please note: Greatest comeback in NBA playoff history.
And yet, the details of the sheer magnitude do not nearly encapsulate what took place at Oakland's Oracle Arena, where the two-time defending champions were on their way to taking a commanding 2-0 lead before the bizarre inconsistencies that "We got exactly what we deserved," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
And so did the Clippers, who fought back from 28 and 25 points down to win games during the regular season.
"This is who we've been all season," Clippers sixth man Lou Williams said.
Trailing by 31
Williams fueled the inferno with 26 of his 36 points coming in, final minutes, while fellow kick plug Montrezl Harrell scored 15 of his 25 in the fourth.
What would a Clippers win without agitation from Hall-of-Fame annoying Patrick Beverley, who helped limit Kevin Durant to just eight shots in 34 minutes before fouling out. Beverley outdid himself at one point, fouling Durant twice and getting into a pair of offensive fouls in a span of just 47 seconds.
Beverley fouled out as well, on a flop in which Draymond Green took immense delight.
But it wasn't too long before the clippers were the ones doing the celebration, heading back to Staples Center for Games 3 and 4 with home-court advantage while the Warriors look to pick up the pieces without staring center DeMarcus Cousins, who could be out for an extended period with what Kerr called a "pretty significant" quad injury.
"It's a tough feeling," said Stephen Curry, who finished with 29 points. "We're talking to each other, trying to figure out how we're going to move on and use this as fuel for Game 3. But other than that, it's just the playoffs. Everything is heightened. You have to lock into the details that separate champions from the rest. "
Big Ben delivers
Saturday's first-round series opener between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets was one Ben Simmons would just as soon forget.
In addition to struggling through one of his least productive outings of the season (nine points, seven rebounds, three assists), the Sixers All-Star compounded his no-show by lashing out at the Philadelphia faithful for their, say, less-than-enthusiastic reaction than Game 1 slipped away.
(Translation: They followed a time-honored civic tradition and booed the home team for playing poorly.) [SimmonswalkedthatcriticismbackthentookmattersintohisownhandsinGame2withhissecondcareerplayofftripledoubleasthe76ersunleashedto record-setting rout on the Nets to even the series at 1-1.
The Sixers shattered franchise playoff marks that had stood for 49 and 52 years, respectively, with 51 points in the third quarter and 145 points overall. Their 51-point record with the Lakers' 57-year-old record for the most points ever scored in a playoff quarter, and the market only the third time in the NBA team has reached the 50-point threshold in a period.
On the individual level, Simmons racked up 18 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists to match Wilt Chamberlain (of course) and Charles Barkley as the lone players in team annals with multiple postseason triple-doubles.
Despite the blowout final, the first half was very much a contest as the Sixers took a clever one-point lead into the break. They could largely thank Simmons for having either scored or assisted on 13 of their first 26 field goals.
He accounted for six more buckets in that blistering third, and the rout was on. At one point during the surge, Simmons delighted the same fans who were expressing their disgust just two days prior by cupping his ear to the crowd like Sixers great Allen Iverson – who, along with Dikembe Mutombo, was in attendance and enjoying the action courtside
Combined with a handful of other strong performances, including 23 points and 10 rebounds from fellow All-Star Joel Embiid, not even off night from Jimmy Butler (seven points in 30 minutes) could slow the Sixers machine, or the man who drove it.
"I was thinking about the angry game," Simmons said of his Iverson tribute. "I've got a lot of love for this city. I was just showing that. The hustle I try to give every game is not only for my teammates and my family, but for the city."
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