The NBA playoffs are underway and there can be a lot to unpack in a series of intense games, to help out we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.
1) Part Clippers’ comeback, part Warriors being bored, Los Angeles comes from 31 down to win. This is the “chicken or the egg” question: Was the Clippers 31-point comeback win more about the Clippers playing better or the Warriors just getting bored, missing shots, and playing poorly?
Like nearly everything in life, it’s not black and white, one or the other, it’s a little of both.
But know this: It was the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history. Think about that for a second. Greatest. Ever.
Golden State had been in control from the opening tip and the score was 94-63 with 7:30 left in the third quarter after a Kevin Durant dunk and-1 foul. Then it started — in the final 19.5 minutes of the game Los Angeles scored 72 points on 69.2 shooting and hitting 5-of-9 threes (for comparison, Indiana scored just two more points, 74, in its entire first playoff game).
On the other end, the Warriors went ice cold, shooting 29.6 percent and going 2-of-11 from three (18.2 percent).
Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr seems to get the chicken/egg credit/blame thing right to me: It starts with his team, but don’t take anything away from the Clippers. When most teams would have rolled over, they kept fighting through adversity.
“When I say we stopped playing, we stopped playing, like defense, offense, execution-wise we were not as engaged as we needed to be,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “We got exactly what we deserved. The Clippers were great. They executed, they were hungry, they stayed connected. They were together.”
NBA Twitter blamed the Warriors — and had a moment of schadenfreude watching Golden State come apart.
Lou Williams was spectacular for the Clippers with 36 points and 11 assists on the night, once he got rolling it didn’t matter if the Warriors defended him well he just hit leaners going left, every contested shot seemed to fall. Williams got help from Montrezl Harrell, who had another big game in this series with 25, while Danilo Gallinari added 24.
Kerr took some criticism for his rotations through the end of the fourth. However, this is less about who was on the floor, and more about how the players on the floor took care of business. The players stopped caring.
The Warriors are still the better team and while the series is 1-1 heading to Los Angeles we know how this will all end. The Warriors won’t be bored enough to let this happen again… probably. These Warriors do have their issues.
And now they are down a man.
2) DeMarcus Cousins leaves the game with a leg injury and he appears done for the playoffs. DeMarcus Cousins finally make the playoffs. He had a bit of a rough outing defensively in his first game, but Cousins finally was playing games after mid-April as the starting center on the team favorited to go get a ring.
Three minutes into the second quarter of his second playoff game, Cousins made a hustle play trying to chase down a loose ball, took an awkward step, and went to the ground.
That is the same leg in which he had the torn Achilles, which had sidelined him at the end of last season and most of this one.
Multiple reports now say it looks like a torn quad muscle (it’s actually better for Cousins if it’s the muscle and not the quad tendon in terms of recovery). An MRI will come Tuesday, but the Warriors are not optimistic, reports Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.
He didn’t return, and league sources confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area that there’s fear that Cousins might have torn his left quad. One source said the center’s prospects are “not good at all.”
“There’s a pretty significant quad injury,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the loss. “We’ll get an MRI tomorrow. But he’s going to be out for, I’ll just say a while.”
Not only does this mean the Warriors go to center by committee with Andrew Bogut and Kevon Looney the rest of the way, but also it could be a blow to Cousins’ free agent opportunities this summer (depending on what the MRI finds).
3) Philadelphia makes history with 51-point third quarter to even series with Brooklyn. Two days before, fans in Philadelphia were booing the Sixers and streaming out of the stadium early in disgust at their team’s poor play. And those fans were right.
Two nights later, this was the reaction inside the Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers — and Ben Simmons in particular — attacked the basket from the start, used their superior athleticism, and were aggressive… and that still wasn’t enough because the Brooklyn bench was dynamic and the team was raining threes. It was a one-point game at halftime.
Then the Sixers came out in the third quarter and dropped 51. That ties the record for most points ever scored in a playoff game quarter. It was 28 more than the Nets scored in the frame, and the game was essentially over.
After three quarters the Sixers had scored 116 points and a 155 offensive net rating (points scored per 100 possessions). By early in the fourth it was garbage time.
Simmons had a triple-double of with 18 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds.
Joel Embiid added 23 points and 10 rebounds and was a +26 on the night. However, all most people were talking about was his elbow to the head of Jarrett Allen that earned him a Flagrant 1 (it could have been a Flagrant 2 and an ejection).
Embiid took this foul very seriously…
The series now shifts to Brooklyn and the Sixers are far from in the clear in this series. They have some real challenges, especially if they can’t stop the Nets bench, or offense in general.