This should be a season to throw down the memory hole for the Los Angeles Clippers. During a time when the franchise is supposed to be competing for championships, the Clippers have been snakebitten by horrible luck in the form of injuries to their two superstars. Kawhi Leonard tore is ACL in last year’s playoffs, and may not play all season. Paul George suffered an elbow injury in Dec. that could require season-ending surgery.
Yet if the season ended today, the Clippers would still qualify for the play-in tournament. They’ve essentially been winning at the same rate as the Lakers despite missing both of their best players for most of the year. What head coach Ty Lue and his team have done this season in the face of adversity is truly admirable, and on Tuesday night the Clippers again showed they should never be counted out.
The Washington Wizards led by 35 points against the Clippers in the first half on their home floor. The Clippers simply couldn’t hit a shot, shooting below 30 percent from the field in the first half. It looked like the Wiz were going to run away with this, but they should have known this Clippers team has a penchant for wild comebacks this season.
- On Jan. 11, the Clippers trailed the Denver Nuggets by 25 points before surging to a win.
- On Jan. 21, the Clippers trailed the Philadelphia 76ers by 24 points before coming back to win.
Guess what? The Clippers did it again. LA’s 116-115 win will go down as the second biggest comeback in NBA history. While erasing a 35-point margin from the first half is an incredible accomplishment, it’s almost even more impressive to see the deficit the Clippers eclipsed in the final 10 seconds.
With 10 seconds left, the Clippers were down 115-109. Then Luke Kennard hit a bomb of a three-pointer to make it a one possession game.
The Wizards then turned the ball over on the next possession when Kyle Kuzma was whistled for a five-second call on the inbounds pass. The Clippers had one more shot to tie the game, and Kennard hit another three-pointer.
Oh, and he was fouled, too. He knocked down the free throw for the game-winning four-point play.
Kennard’s go-ahead free throw in the final second was the Clippers’ first lead of the entire game.
This comeback legitimately broke the win probability game charts:
Fun win probability chart from the Wizards/Clippers game last night pic.twitter.com/KuHLbK4xr1— Alex Sherman (@sherman4949) January 26, 2022
Of course, breaking win probability models is nothing new for the Clippers this season.
Speaking of broken: Wizards fans! After Washington’s 10-3 start, the Wiz are currently just 23-25 and hanging on to play-in position by the skin of their teeth. This was the fourth straight loss for the Wizards, and ..... yeah.
The most pathetic performance I’ve seen in almost 40 years of being around and covering this basketball team.— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) January 26, 2022
This fan in particular was really going through it.
We were up 35 , gave up the lead, and lost to a Luke Kennard buzzer beater. This is why I can’t be coming to the games bruh I recorded the buzzer beater ??? pic.twitter.com/EUoa5J6j5b— papiRey?? (@yourpapiRey) January 26, 2022
Wizards fans — I’m sorry. Y’all were already well-versed with sports pain, and it’s not getting any easier.
How about the Clippers, though? Head coach Ty Lue was the mastermind behind the Cavs comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals once upon a time. Clearly he knows what he’s doing in these situations. Even without Kawhi and PG, the Clippers have proven they can’t be underestimated.