The GREATEST COMEBACKS In NBA Playoffs History
We witnessed all kinds of wild playoff games and crazy comebacks in the bubble. The nuggets fought their way back from an impossible situation against the Clippers and pulled off a miracle. So inspired by them, and since I already did the greatest finals comebacks, let’s now go back to find the most incredible playoff comebacks in NBA history.
So, sit back and let’s start the revisit. What up everybody my name is Stefan and this is Heat Check. Let’s get into it.
When Golden State Warriors won Game 1 of the 2019 Playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers, nobody batted an eye. Yes, the Clippers had a fun team, but they were the eight seed for a reason. Many even expected the Warriors to pull off a sweep. So, when in game 2 the Dubs scored 73 in the first half to take a 23-point lead at the break, thanks mostly to Steph Curry’s 22 and Kevon Looney’s 14, it was nothing surprising. When Kevin Durant hit a free throw at the 7:31 mark in the third, the reigning champs had their largest lead, 31. With the Warriors up 94-63, at that point, according to ESPN Stats & Information, the Clippers’ win probability was a 0.01 percent.
But those Clippers were known to sometimes pull a rabbit out of the hat. They had come back from 28 points down to beat the Celtics on the road earlier that season. It also helped that the Warriors, as Coach Steve Kerr said afterwards, “stopped playing”, after they’d taken the 31-point lead.
Led by Lou Williams, with 17 points, Danilo Gallinari, 9 points, and JaMychal Green, 9 points, the visitors started to believe, ending the third period with 44 points.
Though the lead was cut to 14 to begin the fourth, we were in for a game.
In the final 12 minutes, Sweet Lou and Gallo continued to ball, scoring a combined 20, but Montrezl Harrell’s impact cannot be overstated. He had 15 on a perfect 5-5 from the field and was 5-6 from the charity stripe. The fact that Doc Rivers’ team played stellar defence and that the Warriors missed some open shuts helped as well.
When KD fouled out with 1:21 left, when the Dubs led 128-126, that gave the Clippers additional momentum. Sure enough, Williams scored to tie the game, but Curry responded with a three. The Clippers guard then again embraced the challenge, hitting a two-pointer despite some great defence by Klay Thompson. Klay himself had a chance to probably ice the game, but his three pointer with a little more than 30 seconds to go that would have given the home side a four-point lead didn’t go in. On the following possession, Landry Shamet, after a nice pass from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander,made the biggest shot of his young career to put the Clippers up 133-131. A Curry miss followed by two made free throws from Harrell completed the comeback.
Though the defending champs would prevail in six, gritty performances like this one were among the reasons why Kawhi Leonard would come to LA in the summer.
When the Clippers took an 89-70 lead in Game 6 of the 2015 Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets, you wouldn’t have blamed Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan if they started thinking about the Conference Finals, or even more. Up to that point, the Rockets had scored just six points after the half. Though they cut the lead to 13 to enter the fourth quarter thanks to a 9-3 run during which Terrence Jones scored seven, the home side had all the tools to close them out.
This is where the craziness happened. After Austin Rivers had put the Clippers up 88-100 with 7:38 to go, the visitors went on a mind-boggling 24-2 run to take a 112-102 lead with 1:16 left, basically killing the game. What’s crazy is that Josh Smith and Corey Brewer, both of whom had joined the team in December, were among the key factors in the run. Brewer and Smith, to put it mildly, were never considered solid options from deep. Yet they combined for 5-7 from behind the arc in the fourth.
The run was also helped in no small part by the Clippers who, fair or unfair, froze, shooting just 4-22 from the field in the final 12 minutes.
The craziest part, however, is actually that the Rockets carried it out the run without their best player, MVP candidate James Harden, who had shot 1-7 in the third and who was on the bench. Also, when we talk about the fourth quarter, which the Clippers won 40-15, the contribution of Dwight Howard and Jason Terry should be mentioned as well.
After the 119-107 victory, the series shifted back to Texas, where the Rockets used home court and the momentum from Game 6 to seal the deal and head to the Western Conference Finals, where they would lose to that year’s champion, the Warriors.