Monday night's Game 2 between the Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers left Dubs fans understandably scratching their heads and likely pulling at least a few strands of hair out, as well. So many things went wrong for the defending champs while in the midst of what looked like a sure-thing.
First thing's first: The Warriors had a 31-point lead midway through the third quarter, LA was on its heels, and everything was going right for Golden State. Things were still chippy between Kevin Durant and Clipper guard Patrick Beverley, but that was to be expected. One thing was bubbling under the surface of the rout; fouls were mounting for the Warriors' stars Stephen Curry and KD.
The entire game seemed to turn on a single play. With 8:39 remaining in the third and the Warriors up 86-58, Curry, who was playing with three fouls, was whistled for an offensive foul. Being his fourth, coach Kerr rightly elected to remove Steph so that he would be ready in the event the game were to become competitive again. Without Curry on the floor, Golden State's shot-selection deteriorated and the offense was stagnant, while the Clippers were quietly coming to life.
While Curry sat, LA closed the quarter on a 36-22 run, cutting Golden State's lead from 31 to 14. In the fourth, LA's Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell were virtually unstoppable, scoring 12 and 15 points respectively. A late three by rookie Landry Shamet proved to be the dagger, as it gave the Clippers a two point lead. A lead from which the Warriors would not be able to recover. Harrell added to free throws, putting the Clips up by four with 5.1 seconds remaining in the game. LA had done it; they stole a game and home-court advantage.
If that wasn't enough, plenty of insult was added to injury. Or, maybe it was the other way around? DeMarcus Cousins, playing in just his second career playoff game, went down early in the first quarter with an apparent quad injury. According to ESPN, the team announced Tuesday that "center DeMarcus Cousins has a torn left quadriceps, is out for an indefinite period and will begin rehabilitation immediately."
More Durant and Beverley Drama...
Kevin Durant and Patrick Beverley went at it again. This time, however, it was Beverley who had the last laugh. Although the Clippers' point guard fouled out with 4:33 remaining in the fourth, his team picked him up in a big way. However, in Durant's case, the Dubs clearly could have used his offensive and defensive prowess in the waning seconds of the game. He left them high and dry with 1:21 left in regulation.
The Warriors now head to Los Angeles for games three and four, with an opportunity to avenge Monday night's stunning upset. Game three will be played on Thursday 4/18 at 7:30 PM PT.