After scoring 27 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and taking a 3-1 series lead against the Jazz on his 33rd birthday, Chris Paul told Kristen Ledlow, “I’ve been here before, 3-1, shit went bad real quick.”
The shit he’s referring to is his 2015 Clippers team blowing a 3-1 lead to the Houston Rockets during the 2015 WCSF.
In Game 5 of that historic series, the Rockets blew out the Clippers 128-95. The loss didn’t worry the Clips or their fans.
In Game 6, down 87-68 in Los Angeles, the Rockets outscored the Clippers 51-20 at the end of the third and fourth quarter to pull off a shocking 119-107 comeback victory. Besides a meaningless buzzer beater, the Clippers last field goal in the game was a bucket by Chris Paul with almost 7 minutes left in regulation.
The most embarrassing thing about the epic collapse was James Harden (5-20 FG in 29 minutes) was on the bench down the stretch and the two Rockets they couldn’t stop were Josh Smith (14 of his 19 points in the 4th) and Corey Brewer. No disrespect to the former Rockets but they are Josh Smith and Corey Brewer.
“We kept saying, ‘We’re not going to quit,'” said Dwight Howard, who had his way with the Clips, putting up 20 points and 21 rebounds while Houston native DeAndre Jordan had just 8 and 9. . “We kept believing. We never gave up on each other.”
“We took our foot off the gas, stopped defending, a lot of things,” said Blake Griffin, who failed to make a field goal in the final quarter.
His coach agreed.
“We were trying to run the clock out, and we stopped playing,” said Doc Rivers, who ended up becoming the only coach to ever lose multiple series after taking a 3-1 lead. “We gave this one away.”
In Game 7, in H-Town, the Rockets controlled the game from the start. They outscored the Clips 28-21 in the opening quarter and went on to win the game by 13 behind 31 from Harden. It was the 9th time in NBA history that a team trailing 3-1 in a series came back to win it.
The Rockets then went on to play and lose against the Golden State Warriors (despite some great performances by Harden). Three years later, the Rockets are looking at another date with the Warriors and this time they are feeling a lot better about their chances.