We all remember the NBA Bubble and the Clippers mishaps against the Denver Nuggets. Leading the series 3-1, Doc Rivers coached his squad to one of the worst choke jobs in NBA history as they dropped the next three consecutive games. Months after the disaster that was the NBA Bubble for the Clippers, Paul George commented that the Clippers, and more specifically, Doc Rivers, made little to no adjustments. Doc responded to George’s comments by saying, “Ty Lue was sitting right next to me. It ain’t going to be much different.” Well, we can now say with confidence that it was a lot different. Ty Lue’s ingenious adjustments led the Clippers to their first ever Western Conference Final Appearance in franchise history.
Fast forward to today, the Clippers finally know what it feels like to be on the opposite end of a blown lead courtesy of Doc Rivers. Playing against a solid 76ers squad led by MVP candidate Joel Embiid, the Clippers were, yet again, short handed. Missing their two stars in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers found themselves down by 24 with 7:31 left in the 3rd Quarter. While most teams might fold when facing what seems like an insurmountable lead, the Clippers decided it was time to turn up the jets. Slowly but surely, they started rolling and when the buzzer sounded, the scoreboard showed 102-101 with the Clips on top.
The Clippers are no strangers to comeback wins. Dating all the way back to the 2019 Playoffs where their gritty squad came back from a 31-point deficit against Kevin Durant and the Warriors and most recently to the 25-point comeback against the Utah Jazz to advance to the WCF, the Clippers have undoubtedly the comeback gene engrained in their DNA. After the improbable win against Philly, Reggie Jackson said, “It’s just the way we’re wired. We don’t care if we’re up 20, or down 20.” The results speaks for themselves as the Clippers are the only team in the NBA this season to have multiple 24+ point comebacks. Fueled by their “Next Man Up” mentality, the Clippers are hanging in there despite leading the league in games missed by players due to injury (213). Just imagine how good they’ll be when they get their stars back…