- The Clippers evened their first-round series with the Warriors following a stunning come-from-behind victory on Monday evening
- Golden State lost starting center DeMarcus Cousins to a non-contact injury in the first quarter
- The odds are still heavily against the Clippers overthrowing the defending champs
The Golden State Warriors have been shattering NBA records for the past five seasons, but on Monday night it was the Los Angeles Clippers’ turn to break a record of their own.
WHAT A COMEBACK!
The Clippers SHOCK the Warriors to even the series 👀 pic.twitter.com/561kFXMdu9
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 16, 2019
LA pulled off the biggest comeback in postseason history by erasing a 31-point deficit against the two-time defending champs. The unlikely turnaround was orchestrated by Lou Williams, who finished with 36 points and 11 assists in 33 minutes off the bench.
Lou Williams and Steph both hit clutch shots! 😳 pic.twitter.com/pnMcfCZc9c
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 16, 2019
The two-time Sixth Man of the Year hit a pair of jump shots with one minute remaining to put the game within reach, before rookie Landry Shamet iced the Warriors with a 27-footer with 16.5 seconds on the clock.
CLIPPERS COMEBACK FROM DOWN 31 TO BEAT THE WARRIORS. 😳🔥😳 pic.twitter.com/idImvkcV8t
— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) April 16, 2019
Afterwards, Coach Doc Rivers credited his players’ indefatigable spirit for being the key to LA’s stunning victory. “We changed a couple things offensively and defensively in the third on the fly,” he said, “But I thought it was our spirit more than anything. Just every single guy. I loved the end of the game.”
Oddsmakers immediately responded to Golden State’s epic collapse by shrinking their first-round playoff odds from -20000 to -2500. That’s a significant drop, but we believe there are still three reasons why the Warriors will sneak through to the second round.
Clippers vs Warriors Playoff Series Odds
|Team||Odds to Win Series at Bovada|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+1050|
|Golden State Warriors||-2500|
*Odds taken on 04/16/19
History is Not on the Clippers’ Side
The 1994 Denver Nuggets and the 1999 New York Knicks are the only no. 8 seeds to win a first-round playoff series against a no. 1 seed in NBA history, and their victories come with a Patrick Ewing-sized asterisk. Both teams pulled off the feat when the first round was still a best-of-five format. The Knicks also won their opening series during a topsy-turvy strike-shortened season when most teams were still shaking off the rust heading into the playoffs.
The 1994 Denver Nuggets and the 1999 New York Knicks are the only no. 8 seeds to win a first-round playoff series against a no. 1 seed.
Golden State has been far from perfect this season, as Monday night’s game clearly demonstrated, but the Warriors hasn’t lost a first-round playoff series since 2014 when Draymond Green was in his second season. Expect that trend to continue in 2019.
The Warriors Have Cruised Past the Clippers in 2018-19
Prior to Monday evening, the Warriors had beaten the Clippers in four of their five meetings in 2018-19. LA’s lone victory came early in the season on November 12th when they pulled out a 121-116 overtime victory at home. It was an impressive, gritty win, but it’s worth noting that the Warriors were without leading scorer Steph Curry, who was nursing a left adductor strain at the time.
The disparity between these teams was painfully evident on April 7th when Golden State downed LA 131-104, and again during Game 1 on April 13th, when the Warriors barely broke a sweat during their 121-104 win. Don’t let one game distract you from the fact that the Warriors have owned the Clippers this season.
Golden State Has Enough Depth to Cover for Cousins
There was a palpable hush in Oracle Arena on Monday evening as DeMarcus Cousins crashed to the floor during the first quarter while chasing a loose ball. The four-time All-Star is believed to have torn his quad and is now likely to miss the remainder of the playoffs.
DeMarcus Cousins left the floor after suffering a non-contact injury. pic.twitter.com/f2gblEK4HJ
— KNBR (@KNBR) April 16, 2019
Losing a player of Cousins’ caliber would be a crushing blow for most teams, but the Warriors are uniquely qualified to endure his absence. Golden State has a more-than-capable back-up in Kevon Looney, who started 24 games while Cousins rehabbed his Achilles earlier this season, and chipped in 19 points in 19 minutes on Monday night.
Boogie out. Bogey in.
— NBL (@NBL) April 16, 2019
The Warriors also wisely signed Andrew Bogut on March 6th. The 14-year vet has appeared in 60 career playoff games and is still menacing enough to make opposing guards think twice before knifing into the lane. Neither player is Cousins equal, of course, but they understand Steve Kerr’s system and provide enough insurance for Golden State to advance to the second round.
Game 2 Will Just Be a Footnote
The Warriors were on the wrong side of history on Monday, but their Game 2 defeat will ultimately just be a footnote as they continue their march towards a three-peat.
Pick: Golden State Warriors (-2500)