Landry Shamet, Clippers understand reality despite tying series vs. Kevin Durant, Warriors at 1-1
LOS ANGELES – The L.A. Clippers shocked everyone when they overcame a 31-point 3rd quarter deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of their first round matchup. Kevin Durant fouled out of the game late and Landry Shamet hit the go-ahead three-pointer in one of the most historic nights in the NBA.
The comeback was great for L.A. in that it evened up the series at 1-1 heading back to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4. Not many expected the Clippers to win a game in this series, so the road victory overcoming a huge deficit again was big. It also, however, probably got all of the Warriors’ attention considering the hype over the last few days.
The win was short-lived as Doc Rivers broke down the reality of what this series has been for both teams despite it being 1-1.
“Listen, we came back and what we did was historic but the reality tells a whole different story,” said Rivers prior to Game 3. “The reality is that we were down 31 and the reality is we’re not going to win a lot of games against anybody doing that. The reality is they’re shooting over 50% and there’s a lot of realities in this series that don’t bode well unless we do something about it. I’m fully aware of that, all the backslapping and all that is nice but we need to get back to reality that we got to play better if we’re going to win.”
So far, the Warriors are averaging 126 points on 51.2 percent shooting from the field and 43.1 percent from beyond the arc. Stephen Curry has given the Clippers the most trouble, averaging an absurd 33.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game on 55.9 percent shooting from the field and 56.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Game 2 was historic for a reason, and we’ll likely never see a team overcome a 30+ point deficit in a playoff game.
“We have to play better,” added Rivers. “It’s funny, we were just joking with Brian and Ralph, I got up the next morning thinking, sheesh, we were down 31 points. And we’ve done nothing to stop Curry yet other than get him in foul trouble. For me, honestly, as a coach, that’s what I told our team. It’s nice, that win was amazing, but it’s gone and after all the backslapping, let’s wake up to reality that we did not defend them as well as we should’ve defended them and we did in that stretch, but you’ve got to do it all game because if you get down 31 again, it’s not gonna turn out well. That honestly was my message to them yesterday.”
Rookie Landry Shamet shared the same sentiment when asked about the Game 2 win, knowing full well that that the Clippers likely just woke up a sleeping bear.
“It’s been good, but at the end of the day we’re 1-1 right now. By no means are we satisfied or feel like we’ve accomplished anything it’s entirety at least. It’s a good feat to come from behind and tie the series but me personally, I’m trying to move past all that because we know we probably just pissed off a sleeping bear. They’re going to be ready to go tomorrow. We can’t afford any big win hangover where we’re still riding the wave from that game. Just trying to move past it, it’s been fun, you enjoy it you, appreciate it, but today, we’re back in here ready to work and ready for tomorrow.”
A sleeping bear is probably the best term to describe the Warriors. Any team up 31 would probably relax a little bit, but to actually lose that game was a significant wake up call. After the game, Warriors guard Klay Thompson expressed his frustrations, and even said the team was angry in the locker room. Knowing this team, they’ll likely channel that anger into a top-notch effort in Game 3.
That’s why the Clippers have to remain unsatisfied with their win and come back like their backs are against the wall.
“That’s not enough for us,” said Rivers about getting one win. “We didn’t come here for that. This is special. I don’t care if you’re playing – I can’t think of a really, really, really bad team, and you’re down 30 on the road to anybody, you come back, it’s special. But that’s what was special. Not winning the game. You could hear them in the locker room. They’re not talking about that. They’re talking about coming back and winning. They have expectations. This team does. No one wants to agree with us, and that’s fine. We’re fine with that. But we have our own expectations and we’re going to keep them.”
Rivers and the Clippers will certainly have their work cut out for them, and once again, no one is expecting them to win another game in this series. Game 3 will be Thursday night at 7:30 PM PST on TNT and Prime Ticket.