OAKLAND, California. – At half time on Tuesday, with his team behind the Golden State Warriors for 23 points on the road, LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers tried to instill confidence in his players.
What did he say?
"We were going to win," said Rivers. "Just hang in. Hold on long enough, I was honest with them." I said: "I do not know how." I told him: & # 39; We're going to solve this, but we'll just stay there & # 39; & # 39;
His team could reach up to 31 points in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round series against the Warriors at Oracle Arena, but, as he said, the Clippers stayed there and came back to win 135-131 in what they said. it became the biggest postseason comeback in NBA history.
"We stopped playing," said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. "We disconnected a bit from the middle of the third quarter, we lost our defensive advantage, they scored 85 points in the second half, we had done a good defensive job in the first half, then we got into the game a little bit" When you do that, you're in trouble, especially in the playoffs. "
The Warriors are concerned that DeMarcus Cousins All-Star center will suffer a broken left quad but will not be safe until their MRI on Tuesday, league sources told ESPN.
Doc Rivers finished his pre-game press conference before Game 2 of the Clippers West quarter-final in Oakland by telling the story of a random act of kindness that left the media in awe.
The Clippers outscored the Los Angeles Lakers rally from a deficit of 29 points to beat the Seattle Supersonics in 1989. The Clippers also returned from 27 points in a playoff win over the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012.
But it is not as if a comeback of such a pronounced deficit is new for these Clippers.
Prior to this season, no team had more than a 25-point recovery in a season since the game data per game was available in 1996-97. But this season, the Clippers have posted three comebacks of 25 points or more, according to research by Vincent Johnson of ESPN Stats & Information.
"For me, on national television, we have family, friends, people who admire you," said Clippers backup guard Lou Williams, who scored 36 points. "We understand the type of team we're playing against, so you do not want to be the group of kids that are criticized on national television, not only that, we've been a tough team all year. We've come back from some deficits. like that before, we live with our hard work. "
After the Clippers return from a 31-point deficit to beat the Warriors in Game 2, Doc Rivers tells the media that they have bigger goals in sight.
The 85 points the Clippers scored in the second half are the second highest in the second half of a playoff game in NBA history behind 87 points for the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3 of the conference semifinals West 1978 against the Denver Nuggets, according to ESPN Statistics and information research.
Before Game 2 against the Clippers on Monday, Kerr spoke about the possibility of a disappointment with his team that is already in the lead in a game in the first round of the series.
"You warn them," Kerr said of his players. "You warn them and hope for the best".
But what developed next in Oracle Arena will be reduced as a disappointment that the Warriors will not forget, or anyone else.
"We let down our guard," said Warriors guard Klay Thompson. "We were no longer the aggressors, we did not deserve to win that game, the gods of basketball did not reward us, I had a very open look on the top of the key, inside and outside, it happens, we will recover, I will take my leave. He will do it, we will fix the ship. "
Warriors coach Steve Kerr admits that they broke down midway through the third quarter and says DeMarcus Cousins' injury is "significant."
Warriors star Kevin Durant had nine turnovers, his most in a game since joining the Warriors, and scored 21 points in just eight shots before failing. Stephen Curry had 29 points, but was hampered by fouling problems. A potential of 3 points was also lost with nine seconds to go.
"This game is difficult," Curry said. "It's hard to win playoff matches no matter what the match, regardless of the history, the regular season, team vs. team, it's difficult, we played amazingly for six and a half quarters, we had a 31-point lead. I know we can get it back in. Obviously, we have shown that the level of basketball is there for us, we have to put together 48 minutes, just a collective energy, a positive attitude in everything we do. [the] The locker room was down, as it should be, because every game matters to us. We just have to recover. "
But Rivers said his team can not be satisfied.
"That's not enough for us," Rivers said. "You could listen to them in the locker room, they're not talking about that, they're talking about going back and winning, they have expectations, this team does, nobody wants to agree with us, and that's fine, we're fine with that. But we have our own expectations and we will keep them. "