Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Clippers delivered the biggest comeback in NBA playoff history Tuesday, rallying from a 31-point deficit for a shocking 135-131 win over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.
Lou Williams scored 36 points and Montrezl Harrell nailed a couple of clutch late free throws as the Clippers surprised even themselves to square the first round playoff series at 1-1.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he told his players at halftime, when they were down by 23 points, to not give up.
“I said ‘We are going to win this game.’ I was honest with them. I said, ‘I don't know how. Just hang in there with each other,’” Rivers said.
“This is who we are. We hung in there long enough. We found a way to win the game,” he added.
Williams also had 11 assists, going 13-of-22 from the field and eight-of-10 from the free throw line.
Game three is Thursday in Los Angeles.
The stretch drive featured the Clippers’ consistent mid-range game against the Warriors’ inconsistent three-point shooting. But fouls and injuries also worked against the Warriors in game two of the first round series.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr described it as an epic meltdown.
“Once you lose momentum in a game, it is hard to get it back,” said Kerr. “We lost this game in the middle of the third quarter when we stopped playing.
“We got up by 31 and we shut down. We got exactly what we deserved,” he added.
The Clippers topped the Los Angeles Lakers’ rally from a 29-point deficit to beat the Seattle Supersonics in 1989.
The Clippers also came back from being 27 points down in a playoff win over the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012.
“We changed a couple things offensively and defensively on the fly in the third. And it worked out for us,” Rivers said.
The Warriors got more bad news when they learned DeMarcus Cousins suffered a serious injury.