Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Clippers make incredible comeback in Victory against the Warriors

Clippers Stun the World with Huge Comeback

By: Griffin Greenberg

Wow. This game was incredible. We all know what happened. History was made as the Clippers made the largest comeback in playoff history after being down by 31 in the 3rd quarter with a 0.01% chance of winning at the time.

How did this happen? The Warriors took control of the game but were presented with a big scare as DeMarcus Cousins went down with a quad injury. Aside from that, everything looked fine for Golden State as they dominated the first half holding a 23 point lead going into halftime and even shot 16 first quarter free throws to the Clippers' 4 in the first quarter. They even managed to contain Lou Williams and hold him to 7 points at half and he was their biggest threat. Things were still looking fine in the second half when disaster struck.

Golden State took a 31 point lead thanks to a Kevin Durant and-one with 7:31 left to play in the third. JaMychal Green, Lou Will, and Gallo scored a few times but the Warriors still held a 25 point lead with about 5 minutes to go. 3 minutes later the Clippers cut it down to 16 thanks to 4 baskets by Lou and 2 by Green. Then with 5 seconds left in the 3rd, Shai stole the ball from Steph Curry and Wilson Chandler made a last second layup to cut it down to 14 heading into the 4th. Lou had 17 3rd quarter points. So, the Clippers are chipping away at this lead and a comeback is doable. Scoring in the 4th was even to start but suddenly Gallinari drives and gets an and-one with 7 minutes left to put the Clips down only 11. Next Warriors possession down, Bogut misses a hook shot and Clippers come down and Gallo hits a 3. Then, the 2 Clipper possessions after were highlighted by Lou as he assisted Montrezl Harrell for a 2 and then converted an and-one. All of the sudden the Clippers are down 3 and the hype is real. A few minutes later a big problem for the Clippers strikes. In a controversial play, Patrick Beverley "runs" into Draymond while passing the ball to Lou Will and picks up yes, his 6th foul. Draymond is waving him goodbye, and the Clippers energetic guard who was guarding Durant well is done for the game.

 Later, the Clips are down 3 with 2 minutes left and Draymond fouls Lou sending him to the line. Crucial free throws. Lou hits the first and misses the second. Wow. The very next play was designed for Durant to set a screen on Shamet so Curry could run around and get an open shot. But, Durant is late and when he sees Shamet coming, he backs up into him causing him to receive his 6th foul. The very next play we get a great fadeaway by Lou Williams from just beyond the elbow. 128-128 with 1:10 left. 10 seconds later the Clippers are completely lost on defense. Gallo is standing at the block when he should be on Green at the elbow, Montrezl is in the middle of the paint when he should be on Looney behind where Gallo is, and Shai is covering Green when he should be on Iguodala at the 3 point line (even though the Clips have been giving Iggy this shot). Curry swings it to Iggy, makes a V-cut into Shamet, runs around a handoff screen from Iggy and sinks a 3 as Shai is nowhere to be found. Warriors now up by 3 with a minutes left. Next play is just more Lou as he hits Klay with a nice crossover, drives, pump-fakes, and scores. Next defensive play for LA was even worse than the last one as Lou and Shamet collapse on Curry to prevent him from going anywhere leaving Klay wide open for 3 from the top. Klay misses. At this point I've at 2 heart attacks in this game. That shot which could have very well gone in and when Curry hit the 3 to put Golden State us 131-128. 20 seconds left. Lou comes off an SGA screen and have Klay and Curry doubling him so he swings it to Shai who has a wide open 3. Instead of taking it he drives causing the defense to collapse on him and gets a pass off right above the arms of Iggy to Shamet for 3. Shamet gathers, shoots, and...BINGO!!! Clips take their first lead since it was 12-11.

Reactions are Shamet jumping up and down, other Clippers screaming, and Steve Ballmer going crazy (as always)!  But, the Warriors take a timeout, have 15 seconds ton the clock, and are only down by 2. Golden State gets the ball in and swings it to Iggy at the top of the key. He gives it back to Curry who now has Harrell guarding him off of a switch. Curry steps back, fakes, and Harrell goes flying by. With an open shot for Curry he rims it short! The ball is tipped up in the air by Gallo and tipped by Shamet to Harrell who the Warriors have to foul. Warriors fans head for the gates as Montrezl steps up to the line and hits 2 clutch free throws despite being a 64% free throw shooter this year and puts the Clips up 4 with 5 seconds left. Klay puts up a horrible shot and it's over. Clippers complete the comeback. Bev and Trez walk around the court screaming and fired up. At this point, I am running around my house screaming at what an incredible comeback we made. WHAT A GAME. Gallo finished with 24 points, Lou with 36 points and 11 assists, Montrezl Harrell with 25 on 9-9 shooting from the field, and Shamet with 12 on 4 threes. Looney finished with 19, Curry with 29, and KD had 21 points on 8 shots total with 9 turnovers. YES, KEVIN DURANT HAD MORE TURNOVER THAN SHOT ATTEMPTS. History has been made. The Clippers never gave up. At halftime down 23, Doc told the team that they would win. The Clippers have done this many times this year as this reminded Landry Shamet of his first game as a Clippers where they came back down 28 against Boston. Some crazy stats that cannot go unnoticed occurred too. The Clippers scored 72 points in the final 19.5 minutes to the Warriors' 37, Golden State attempted 45 free throws to LA's 31, and LA had 83 bench points. Also, LA became the 3rd team in NBA history to score 85+ points in a half, this is the largest playoff comeback ever (like I said earlier), and no team since 1996 has comeback from a 25 or more point deficit more than once in a season while the Clippers have done it 3 times now.

In simpler terms, amazing performance (in the 2nd half). Doc Rivers was able to keep the squad composed and just play basketball. Pat Beverley celebrated by doing an extra strength workout in the locker room. Need to resign him. But, the Clippers have to remember that it's just 1 game and they can win this series by holding home court and winning later. Beverley comments, "It felt good. I'm going to try to be as humble as possible right now. We'll enjoy tonight, but in reality, it's just one game... We did what we wanted to do. We wanted to come out here & steal 1. It's going to be fun back in L.A." The Clippers had 100-1 odds against Golden State, lowest in 30 years, and had the greatest comeback in playoff history. A truly stunning victory.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Warriors Defeat Clippers in Frustrating Game 1

Clippers vs Warriors Game 1 Recap and Analysis

By: Griffin Greenberg

In the 1st game of round 1 in the Clippers vs Warriors matchup, the Warriors ended up winning 121-104. The story of this game besides Stephen Curry's takeover, was the Patrick Beverley vs Kevin Durant matchup. Coming into the series, most believed the Clippers would be swept by the Warriors 4-0 as it's the Warriors. It just sucks for the Clips that they have to face Golden State as it could define their season as very defeating if they do get swept. It sucks even more that their horrible loss against the Lakers put them in such a bad spot in which they could have been playing a much preferred Denver team as the Nuggets are very inexperienced.

In the game the Clips hung around in the 1st quarter as they took a 1 point lead with about 5 minutes to go before the Warriors overpowered and went up 9 to finish the quarter. It looked to be as the Warriors had a gameplan of going under even screen that the Clippers set forcing them to shoot. That is a very risky move against this Clippers team that can shoot the lights out at time but it worked. In the second quarter the Clippers came out ready as Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell sparked the offense and the Clips came back and were down by 2 with a bunch of lead changes occurring with about 3 minutes left. At that time, things were looking good as Lou was driving and scoring at ease and Harrell was finishing easily as Lou finished the 2nd with 15 and Harrell with 22. All of the sudden, madness occurred as calls looked to be pretty one-sided (in favor of Golden State) and the Clippers kept getting frustrated which led to Golden State scoring. In those last 3 minutes of the 1st half is where the Clips lost the game as they totally lost their composure and had a reason to. Now I may be biased but many non clipper fans on twitter were questioning the calls made in favor of Golden State and how the Clippers were getting nearly any when players like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander drove and got slapped on the wrist. Players like Danilo Gallinari were getting pissed and Gallo even picked up a technical which is rare to see. This is really where the game split wide open and away from the Clippers and the Warriors took a 13 point lead a halftime. In the 3rd the Clippers showed glimpses of comebacks as they cut it down to as low as 6 before Stephen Curry erupting from the 3 point line. Finally in the 4th, the Clippers couldn't keep up and more KD x Beverley drama erupted as they got 2 pairs of double techs in a span of 20 seconds which caused both of them to be ejected. Curry finished with 38 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 turnovers in 36 minutes and Durant finished with 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in 32 minutes. On the Clippers side, Gallo played poor as he had 15 points on 14 shots, Shai had 18 points on 16 shots, and Lou and Trez became the only bench players to score 25+ each in a playoff game. Some things to note were that Shamet didn't score until early in the 3rd quarter and if they got him involved earlier I feel like this could have been a different game with the Warriors going under every screen. Also, it doesn't show it in the stat sheet, but Garrett Temple did play great as he stopped Curry and Klay in the Clippers' run with great perimeter defense. It still stings going back to that Rockets vs Thunder game where if the Rockets closed it out and won, the Clippers would be playing Denver who is currently struggling with 4 minutes left in the 2nd quarter as they are down by a dozen (at the time I'm writing this). In this game the Clippers starters were nowhere to be found. Game 2 is Monday night at 7:30 pm PT.

Beverley mocking Durant's flops

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Clippers Cruise Past the Cavaliers in First Game of back-to-back

Written by: Griffin Greenberg 
JaMychal Green going up for a dunk

The Clippers didn't miss a beat with Danilo Gallinari out as they beat the Cleveland Cavs 132-108. In a game where everyone played (but Gallo obviously), the Clippers won easily as they really came alive in the 4th quarter. Despite Beverley's poor 1-10 shooting from the field, he finished with a +/- of +12 and strong defense (as usual). This shows that Bev is such a valuable asset and he doesn't need to just shoot well to affect the game. Aside from Gallinari missing the game due to a sore left ankle and Bev's shooting, everyone else shot pretty well today with JaMychal Green finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds on 8-9 shooting in 23 minutes, Ivica Zubac with 6 points and 5 rebounds on 3-3 shooting in 15 minutes, Shamet with 13 points, Lou with 18 points and 6 assists, Garrett Temple with 13 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting which includes 3-3 from beyond the arc, Montrezl Harrell with 23 points and 6 rebounds on 10-13 shooting, and Shai delivering 22 points on 9-12 shooting which includes 3-3 from beyond the arc and 8 assists as well. With Green being asked to fill a huge roll with Gallo out, he certainly delivered.  The team shot 62.4% from the field, 45.5% from the 3, registered 27 fast break points to the Cavs' 11, and had 33 assists with is the 10th time this season that the Clips have finished with 30+ in a game.

Also, some great things to take away from this game was how Doc Rivers was able to get Garrett Temple and Wilson Chandler involved even more. Overall, it was a great team win for the Clips. While some may say that they were playing a horrible Cavalier team without Kevin Love, that is true but this a great confidence booster, especially for the young guys. This win puts the Clips back in the win column after a 10 point loss to the Bucks without Lou Will and Beverley. The Clippers now stand at 6th in the west, 1.5 games in front of San Antonio and OKC and 0.5 games behind Utah for the 5th spot. If the season ended today, the Clippers would play the Rockets in the first round. The Clippers next game is tonight (Sunday night) against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Clippers Clinch Playoff Birth with Late Push Over T-Wolves

Written by: Griffin Greenberg

Playoff-clinching win and Beverley injury

Clippers celebrate 122-111 playoff-clinching win

If I told you at the beginning of the NBA season that the Los Angeles Clippers would be the better Los Angeles basketball team at the end of the season you would think I was crazy! But, this is in fact the case. With the Clippers projected to be a 22 win team at the beginning of the season, they have proved everybody wrong and marked an outstanding 45-30 record as of March 26th.

The Clippers' playoff clinching win came tonight against the Timberwolves in a 122-111 win where the Clippers took control right away in the game. The Clippers ended the first quarter leading 42-23 as Danilo Gallinari led the way with 14 points. The Clippers continued this dominance through the second quarter and went into halftime with a 20 point lead. Suddenly with over 8 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, Clippers PG, Patrick Beverley, had to head to the locker room due to right hip pointer and he didn't return for the rest of the game. Concern then struck as the Timberwolves took a 23 point deficit at the time and were only down by 12 in a matter of 4 minutes. Minnesota later cut it down to as low as 6 in the 4th quarter but the Clippers pulled away and ended up winning by 11. But, this Beverley injury is very important for the Clippers. Ever since he left the game, the Clippers stopped moving the ball around and settled for some questionable threes on important possessions. Once the Clippers distributed the ball they played much better. When Shai-Gilgeous Alexander controlled the offense, the Clippers played much like a team again propelling the win. Gallo and Beverley are the main keys to the squad. Once Gallo gets going and Beverley gets excited and ready to stop anyone on defense, this team cannot be stopped as nobody can contest the depth with Montrezl Harrell, another great energy spark, and Lou Williams who can heat up in a second come off the bench.

Basically, the Clippers have to stay healthy and if they can, they can surprise a lot of people in the playoffs.  With some help by the Charlotte Hornets as they defeated the San Antonio Spurs, the Clippers now hold the 5th seed in the West. 0.5 games ahead of the Jazz, 1.5 ahead of the Thunder, and 2 games ahead of the Spurs. This has been a surprise to many considering the Clippers traded their best player, Tobias Harris, near the All-Star break. But, Jerry West is working his magic for them as he acquired tons of draft picks in years to come and big man Ivica Zubac along with many other players. The Clippers have now won the last 11 out of 12 games. This team is playing incredible team basketball and once Landry Shamet and Beverley are 100% and back from their injuries, this is a scary team. While this is supposed to be a tanking period, the Clippers keep winning and it looks great for the franchise and the Clips are set up in perfect position to acquire big name free agents in free agency with their 2 max contract slots. All the Clippers have to do is stay healthy, celebrate this great run with some champagne like Gallo is doing below, and let Jerry West work his magic and this team could be very successful very soon. The Clippers next face the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday which is regarded as their toughest remaining matchup.