It was so unbelievable, until it wasn’t.
One year ago today, the Clippers completed the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history by storming back from 31 points down with 7:31 left in the third quarter to shock the two-time defending champion Warriors at Oracle Arena.
It wasn’t the first statement win of the season – they had erased three 20-plus-point deficits on one February road trip alone – and it wouldn’t be the last, as they would return to Oakland just a week later to take Game 5 in much more convincing fashion. But this was the one that will live on forever.
Today, we look back to the night of April 15, 2019 through the lens of our Clippers photographers.
It would be easy to get caught up in the moment. Facing the heavily-favored Warriors, already down a game, in a building designed to blast the opponents’ senses to smithereens. But Lou Williams, the Underground GOAT, isn’t hearing that noise as he finds some calm before the storm.
The team huddles up in the back tunnel of Oracle Arena before taking the court. This group has formed an identity from overcoming adversity. Facing the prospect of falling down 0-2, the goal tonight is to win and force a return for Game 5.
The rules are the same, but playoff basketball is different. Cameras everywhere, but Patrick Beverley stays locked in.
Just two months into his tenure with the team, rookie Landry Shamet has established himself as an integral piece of the Clippers’ offense with his shooting ability. But in this series he embraces the responsibility of guarding former MVP Stephen Curry.
Heart over height. “I try to be the best defender on this f****** planet,” said Beverley after this game. “Consistently, in and out. I take my role, I take my job very seriously. I do it for my teammates. I understand my role and I understand how to get stops. KD isn’t an easy cover but it’s fun out there for sure.”
Steady as ever, Williams kicked it into high gear for 29 of his game-high 36 points in the second half.
“If you play long enough, you’ll find your running mate,” says Williams about his pick-and-roll partner, Montrezl Harrell. The O.G. added 11 assists to his stat line, here feeding his wing man Harrell, who imposed his own will with 25 points and 10 boards on the night. The Clippers inch closer and close the gap.
Landry Shamet finished with a modest 12 points, but connected on four attempts from downtown and nailed the dagger to seal the victory with 15.9 seconds left. After the game, he’d proclaim “BINGO” to be his favorite word in the English language.
Perhaps the most iconic photo of the season, Pat and Trezz unleash raw emotion as they celebrate walking off the floor. Two of the most demonstrative forces on the team, our photographer knew who to target as the final buzzer sounded.
Steve Ballmer sets the tone for the Clippers organization and the team embodies his unbridled competitive spirit. After a win like this, he and Doc Rivers can hardly contain their excitement.
“We are not going anywhere,” Rivers told his team in the locker room. “We’re roaches, they can’t kill us!” The iconic line became a rallying cry for the team, which went on to defeat Golden State again at Oracle in Game 5. The line was subsequently featured in the movie “Uncut Gems.”
The epitome of cool, before, during and after the game. Lou Williams famously doesn’t eat much on game days, so here he refuels, snacking on arena nachos while scrolling social media on the training table.