Game 3: Golden State (1-1) at LA Clippers (1-1)
Thursday, 10:30 PM ET (TNT)
Free NBA Pick: Warriors ATS
Recommended Sportsbook: Bookmaker
Tiger Woods winning the Masters on Sunday? Surprising. The record-setting Tampa Bay Lightning potentially being ousted in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by Columbus? Stunning. The Golden State Warriors blowing a 31-point lead in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series on Monday? Absolutely mind-blowing.
Indeed, that’s exactly what happened, with the Clippers staging the greatest comeback win in NBA playoff history, stunning the Warriors 135-131 to even their series at 1-1. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his team just “stopped playing” in the third quarter.
Warriors fans might blame the season-ending torn quad injury suffered by DeMarcus Cousins as a reason for blowing that lead, but Cousins went out in the first quarter. The Warriors still led 94-63 midway through the third quarter. The best player in the second half of that game wasn’t any of the Warriors’ All-Stars but Clippers Sixth Man extraordinaire Lou Williams, who scored 29 of his 36 points in the second half. Bench mate Montrezl Harrell had 17 of his 25 points after intermission.
The Clippers scored 50 first-half points and shot 45 percent from the field. In the second half, they scored 85 and shot 67 percent. In the final 19:30, Los Angeles was 27-for-39 from the field and outscored Golden State 72-37. Incredible.
Golden State remains the -220 Bovada favorite to win a third straight NBA title, but losing Cousins obviously won’t help matters. Good thing the team signed Andrew Bogut in March after his stint in Australia. Kevon Looney probably starts going forward. Looney had 19 points 19 minutes on Monday. Have to feel bad for Cousins, though, after tearing his Achilles’ tendon last year with the Pelicans and taking a one-year, prove-you-are-healthy $5 million deal with the Warriors. He’s probably going to have to take a similar deal now this offseason.
History says the Warriors aren’t likely to win another title. The Clippers are the seventh team to mount a 20-point comeback win on the road in the last 20 postseasons. The series record of those six previous teams is 5-1. The lone loser was Boston in 2017 vs. Cleveland. It was the Warriors’ first playoff loss in the shot-clock-era (1954-55) in which the team led by 15-or-more points at halftime.
Crazily, it was the third game this season the Clippers won after trailing by at least 25 points. That’s an NBA first (since play-by-play date became available in 1996-97).
On the BetOnline updated series line, Golden State is still a massive -6000 favorite with the Clippers at +2000. The Cousins injury probably won’t affect this series one bit. It could, however, cost the Dubs in the next round against Houston (presuming the Rockets beat the Jazz and are healthy).
We do think the Warriors rebound in style on Thursday. They are going to be pissed. Golden State had an 18-6 record after suffering a loss this season and has covered five of its past six at the Clippers.