Los Angeles Clippers is back in the playoffs for the first time since being eliminated in Game 7 of the 2006 Conference Semifinals and what a way for the team to be back in the postseason. The Clippers tied the record for the largest deficit overcome at the end of the third quarter of a playoff game during the shot clock era after defeating the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their First Round series. Los Angeles was down by 21 points entering the fourth period of their game versus the Grizzlies when the improbable happened. The way the team did not give up despite the big lead is a good sight for owners of Los Angeles Clippers tickets who have been deprived of a playoff action for six years.
The Clippers joins the Boston Celtics of 2002 as the teams with the largest deficit overcame in a playoff game.
For almost throughout the game, Los Angeles appears headed for a Game 1 loss when the lead of Memphis ballooned to as much 27 but the Clippers had other things in mind and couldn’t swallow a possible blowout loss. During the regular season, Los Angeles has had numerous games where they had to come back from trailing 10 or more points to be able to win a game. The Clippers had 14 other comeback games before this historical one, which is the most in the entire league.
The historical run of the Clippers during the game started when they were down by 24, 95-71, with 7:54 left. Burly forward Reggie Evans made a layup, which appeared to be the start of their historic 28-3 run, en route to winning the game.
During the fourth quarter of the game, Clippers all-star Chris Paul begged for coach Vinny Del Negro that he be inserted back to the game despite staring down a big lead. For starters, coaches don’t let their star players back on the court of a blowout game to avoid any injury and also to rest them for the next game. Paul’s insistence to be back on the game proved to be a key one for their opening series win.
Aside from Paul, there were other Clipper players who stepped up in this game. One is Evans whom Paul told was a game-changer. Apart from the aforementioned layup to start the run, Evans also made some key buckets during the run as well as defensive plays. Another player who stepped up is Nick Young. The midseason acquisition was able to drain three 3-pointers to help cut the Memphis lead to 3.
The win of the Clippers comes with a costly price. Starting small forward Caron Butler is expected to miss at least six weeks after fracturing the fifth metacarpal bone on his left hand. Butler got hurt in the early third quarter when his hand apparently got caught on the jersey of Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay during a pin-down screen.
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