Montrez Harrell

USA Today

Clips Pull Off Historic Rally

Give the Clippers some bleeping credit.

April 16, 2019 - 11:01 am
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How was your night? Because the Golden State Warriors night was pretty horrible. They lost DeMarcus Cousins to a leg injury, potentially for the rest of the year, and then they lost a 31-point lead in the second half, and then they lost Game 2 to the Clippers 135-131.

That is a hell of a lot of bad for one night. And of course everyone is going to come flying in today with a hell of a lot of bad takes. Everyone is going to be running in with a giant sledge-hammer to swing at a clown-sized panic button. 

So let’s stop that before it starts. Yes, Golden State blew a 31-point lead with less than 20 minutes to go in the game and they gave up 85 points in the second half. 

And you can point to a dozen different reasons. They lost DeMarcus Cousins. Steph Curry got into foul trouble and went from red-hot before he sat to ice cold after it. Kevin Durant had eight official shots, but more importantly, nine turnovers. I could go on, but it’s not worth it. 

Yes, blowing a 31-point in less than 20 minutes at home is an epic collapse, but it doesn’t mean they’re in trouble in this series. 

And no, last night had nothing to do with Cousins. He went down early in the game and the Warriors built that lead after he went down. If they were rattled by losing him, they picked a weird way of showing it – by going from down 1 at the time of his injury to up 31 with 7:31 left in the third quarter.

But the Warriors didn’t get exposed last night. Not for anything that we don’t already know about them. 

What did you learn last night? That they have a habit of switching off at times? That they stop playing? That they sometimes coast and do it at really bad times? That the chemistry on the team isn’t as great as it has been in years past? That the defensive intensity has been an issue? We knew all this already.  Tell me something, I didn’t already know. Tell Steve Kerr, something HE didn’t already know; because no one knows that team better than Kerr. 

And Steve Kerr said: “It doesn’t feel strange to me, no. At this stage, nothing surprises me that happens with our team and where we are. I was very concerned coming into this game. And in some ways, we had this coming. And we’ll see if we can actually respond to it and do something good with it.”

Everything we saw last night we’ve seen before. We knew all of that. Just like we’ve known they were human. And being human, they probably figured that up 31 with 19 minutes and 31 seconds to go at home, the game was over. Because it is. A billion times out of a billion, that game is over. 

And that is exactly why last night is more about the Clippers than it is about the Warriors. 

Give them some bleeping credit, I mean, for real.

Down 31 on the road in the second half against a team that’s won the last two titles and three of four overall, that’s the time to pack it in. Shut it down. Go home. ICE UP.  GET SOME IBUPROFUEN: prepare for the flight back, and start looking at tee times.

For pretty much anyone else.  But not these Clippers. That’s when they dial in.  

They’re gritty as hell. They don’t care if they’re down 30 or up 30. You think a team with Patrick Beverley is just going to shut it down? Hell no. Yeah, he fouled out, but he went down swinging. Just like he always does. And eventually took Durant with him, again.

And know this, he’s not there to agitate people like everyone seems to think. He’s just doing work. He’s just doing his job; a job he cares a helluva lot about: 

"I don't try to get in people's heads, man. I can't help if people get irritated by me. It's not my fault. I go out there and I try to be the best defender on this bleeping planet, consistently, in and out. I take my role, I take my job very seriously. I do it for my teammates. I understand my role. I understand how to get stops. KD is not an easy cover, but its fun out there, for sure."

It sure as hell is fun. That’s why I said yesterday that this matchup is one of my favorite matchups in a long time, because Beverley doesn’t care. He’s looking to be the best defender on this bleeping planet. You think that changes whether he’s up 30 or down 30? Hell no.

You think Lou Williams is going to stop taking shots? He went 11 for 17 with 26 points and 7 assists. IN THE FINAL 20 MINUTES. 26 and 7 is a great game and he did it in a quarter and a half. 

And how about some love for Montrez Harrell? All he did is go five for five for 17 points in the final 20 minutes. 

And maybe some for Doc Rivers, who has reminded everyone this year of just how damn good a coach he is. He stayed on it with this team in the second half of the season and the second half last night. It’s all about identity: “Every timeout, it's just who we are. Be us. We said it: 'Let's be us. Don't change. Keep playing the way we play.'"

And how about something for Landry Shamet doing this?

That’s a rookie going assassin in the final seconds of a game against the three-time champs. In their house.  

This was a team that was supposed to wave the white flag after the Tobias Harris trade. These Clippers have a helluva lot heart. A helluva lot grit. A helluva lot more than those Blake Griffin-Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan teams had. Not better, but a helluva lot tougher and with much better chemistry.

Not only did they do they do work in the second half, they didn’t party like they did anything after it. They were right back on the grind. Patrick Beverley was throwing around weights while doing wall sits

And Lou Williams was getting ice, eating nachos, and checking Twitter.

That is absolutely awesome. If you haven’t seen those pics from the Clippers twitter feed, you should check that out. Because it shows just how un-impressed the Clippers players were with what they did.

Don’t get me wrong. The Warriors are still going to win this series. They will bounce back. Andrew Bogut summed up the mood in Golden State’s locker room: "The mood's bleep. And that's actually a positive sign in my opinion. It wasn't something where we were like, 'Oh, we'll get them next time.' We're genuinely pissed off about it."

The problem for them is that instead of wrapping it up and resting up, they’re going to play at least 48 more minutes. And they’ll most likely be doing it without Cousins. And playing at least one more game and doing it without Cousins, means more minutes for everyone. Because any minutes against these Clippers are going to be a battle. They’re get through this round; and they’re still the team to beat; but they just made it a helluva tougher on themselves. Tougher than it had to be. Then again, who these two teams are, that shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s what they do. Both of them. Just be sure to give the Clippers some bleeping credit. For real.