NBA fans that stayed up Monday night to watch the second half of the Golden State Warriors-Los Angeles Clippers game got a pleasant surprise. Despite losing Demarcus Cousins to an injury in the first quarter, the Warriors had gotten out to a 23-point lead at halftime. The game looked like it was going to be another Golden State blowout.
But then the Clippers decided to make history.
Golden State pushed the lead out to 31-points, but then something clicked in both teams. The Warriors appeared to shift into neutral while the Clippers exploded. When the fourth quarter came to an end, the Clippers had overcome a 31-point deficit (tying a playoff record) by scoring 85 points in the second half to win by four, 135-131.
Wow. There is no other way to describe it.
The win got a quick reaction out of oddsmakers. Prior to Game Two, the Warriors had been an overwhelming favorite to beat the Clippers in their first-round series, -20000. But after Game Two the odds made a dramatic shift in the Clippers favor.
Bovada moved them from -20000 to -2500. That means you have to wager $2500 just to win $100. Odds for the Clippers improved to +1050. BetOnline.ag has the odds set at -3000 for Golden State to win and +1500 for the Clippers.
So, yeah—the odds made a pretty dramatic shift. But is there any reason to believe the Clippers could actually win another game let alone three more games?
It may be hard to believe, but yes. Yes, there is.
To beat Golden State, you have to be able to put up some serious points (since they do). During the regular season, the Clippers were one of the highest scoring offenses in the league (115.1; just 2.6 points a game less than Golden State). But to beat the Warriors, you really need to beat them at their own game—by making it rain from three-point range.
Now, during the regular season, the Clippers did not take too many three-point attempts. In fact, they ranked 28th in the league with just 25.8 attempts a game. However, they ranked second in percent made at 38.8 percent—three-tenths of a point higher than the Warriors.
So, maybe if they take more shots from three-point range, they will make more and potentially upset the Warriors again? That’s what happened Monday night; the Clippers hit 45.2 percent of their three’s (14 of 31.
Golden State hit just 39.3 percent (11 of 28).
But if you bank on winning a shootout with the Warriors, you are going to lose more than you win. Then again, Golden State’s defense was only rated 1.8 points better (108.5 to 110.3) than the Clippers. The Clippers were tied for the fourth lowest percentage of three-pointers allowed in the regular season at 34.2 percent.
If the Clippers defense can continue to frustrate Golden State at the three-point line (the Warriors only attempted 28 Monday night) and make a good number of their own, they might have an outside shot at becoming the third No. 8 seed in NBA history to upset a 1-seed.
It could happen….