The Los Angeles Clippers punched a dynasty in the mouth tonight, roaring back from a 31-point deficit to knock down the champs in Oracle, 135-131. Adding injury to insult, Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousin took a terrible fall and appears to have a nasty quad injury.
The Clippers put on a gritty performance, led by the offense of Lou Williams (36 points, countless crunch time daggers), the heart of Montrezl Harrell (25 points + 10 rebounds), and the antics of Patrick Beverly, who fouled out of the game but led the emotional charge when the game was at its bleakest for L.A.
The champs gave up 85 second half points. Steph Curry led the team with 29 points, but missed on a late three-pointer that could have put the Warriors up in the final seconds.
Cousins went down hard in front of the Warriors bench after getting an impressive steal in the open court. As he extended to gather the ball, he suddenly collapsed under his own weight to the floor, grabbing his hip. He needed Jordan Bell’s help from the sideline just to stand up and hobbled immediately into the locker room after a quick timeout.
Warriors’ DeMarcus Cousins heads to locker room after sustaining non-contact left leg injury pic.twitter.com/1JZDeEC8Et— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 16, 2019
The air left the building momentarily until Andrew Bogut was checked in. His first rebound drew a boisterous shriek of appreciation, and he gave some decent defensive minutes. But it was Kevon Looney who seized the center position with true gusto in the first half.
Guys... Kevon Looney is really good. He's not a system player. He's a really good basketball player.— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) April 16, 2019
Kevon Looney has a new playoff career high with 14 points (5-of-5 FG), one off of his regular season career high of 15 points (Jan. 28, 2019, at Indiana)— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) April 16, 2019
Kevon Looney got that Robert Parish swag.— Amir Blumenfeld (@jakeandamir) April 16, 2019
...Don’t @ me.
Looney’s early scoring binge complemented well with Curry’s voracious scoring half. “Unanimous” poured on 22 points with 4 triples in the first half. Oracle crackled with gleeful anticipation every time they saw the ball being swung his way! The party was on, minus major concern for Cousins.
Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins will undergo an MRI on his quad tomorrow, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 16, 2019
Warriors 73, Clippers 50
The Warriors stretched the lead to as much as 31 until L.A. began ratcheting up the physicality to “2019 version of the Bad Boys Pistons” levels. Patrick Beverly in particular seemed hellbent on getting Durant upset with repeated questionable contact.
Remarkable composure tonight from Kevin Durant, who is getting banged up and not complaining. Just got an "M-V-P!" chant as he stepped to the foul line.— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) April 16, 2019
Warriors fans think they slick, chanting MVP for Steph and KD— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) April 16, 2019
The several fouls took the Warriors out of their rhythm however, and the Clippers exploded for 44 points in the third frame. They began getting down hill penetration into the Warriors defense and kept their intensity cranked to 100 as the Warriors seemed a bit flustered.
The Clippers cut into the lead with a frenetic, athletic defense that began to choke out passing lanes and run the Warriors off of easy three-pointers. Finally, it felt like the playoffs had begun for the champions, as the 48-win Clippers were showing their true resolve. The Warriors led 120-117 with 5:26 to go as Beverly picked up his fifth foul.
Draymond Green drew foul On Beverly #6 with 4:32 left, and the Warriors up 123-119. Green and the crowd exuberantly waved a stunned Beverly off of the court as KD smugly stared. Green immediately followed that up with a monster slam, and I was reminded of just how invaluable he is to this team in crunch time. Warriors 125-119.
From there, it was a heavyweight slugfest with both teams drilling monster shots, until the Clippers hit the final knockout blows. LOU WILLIAMS WAS FRYING WARRIORS DEFENDERS LEFT AND RIGHT! It was macabre.
Sweet Lou!— ESPN (@espn) April 16, 2019
Lou Williams is only the 2nd bench player with a 30-point, 10- assist performance in the playoffs! pic.twitter.com/q36Tqq3KFB
Incredible comeback from the Clips. Never gave up, GSW just lost their defensive intensity after getting up big. Then couldn’t find an answer to the Lou Williams PNR. Game 3 will be very interesting!— Eric Apricot (@EricApricot) April 16, 2019
The series is now tied 1-1. The Warriors-Clippers rivalry is officially back.