May 14, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes (22), forward Blake Griffin (32) and center DeAndre Jordan (6) watch from the bench during the 119-107 loss against the Houston Rockets during the second half in game six of the second round of the NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets On History Setting Mission:
Following arguably the biggest come back win in Rockets history they enter Sunday’s final game of the series with momentum on their side. The series has been earmarked by historic implications as Houston initially fell behind 3-1 and now L.A. is behind the eight ball having to win on the road in a Game 7.
Only 8 teams have come back to win a series after trailing 3-1, and the last team to accomplish that feat was Phoenix over the other L.A. team (the Lakers) in 2006. Houston will seek to become the ninth team to add their name to the history books.
For the Clippers they enter Sunday knowing road teams don’t have a great track record in Game 7’s: only 24 of 120 road teams (20%) have won. Last season we witnessed five Game 7’s in the first round, this year only one (LAC vs. Spurs). So the Clippers are the common denominator in this seasons Game 7’s, however their victory in round one came at home.
As far as the two teams track records in Game 7’s, Houston have played in 9, have a 5-4 record and are 3-1 at home. Although they have that winning record, they’ve lost their last 3 opportunities. Conversely the Clippers hold a much better record at 3-1 in Game 7’s including one of those 24 road victories versus Memphis in 2012.
“We gave this one away, there’s no doubt about that” – Rivers
In reality the Clippers have much more to worry about then closing out the series on the road.They’ve been soundly beaten by the Rockets in the last 2 games and their collapse Thursday is sure to be playing havoc with their mindset.
It’s not just that the Clippers lost, it’s how they lost Game 6, up 19 late in the third quarter they began show-boating almost rubbing in their impending victory. Furthermore, at the back of the Clippers minds and specifically Chris Paul and Blake Griffin is the fact L.A is 0-4 in potential series clinching games to get to the Western Conference Finals.
Post game pressers from both Game 5 and 6 highlighted Doc Rivers and L.A. players citing the reason as lost focus rather than accrediting the Rockets effort. Now they return to Houston where it’s doubtful Doc Rivers left money in the ceiling as inspiration since he thought his squad wouldn’t be returning.
What Doc and his team need to worry about now is the fact they’ve lost two games by large margins, and have continually cited it as having nothing to do with the Rockets. It’s a dangerous position to take since James Harden has yet to explode in typical fashion in the series. Looking back at the season some of Harden’s best efforts came on Nationally televised Sunday afternoon games. In these contests Houston notched repeated victories facing the likes of LeBron James‘ Cavaliers, Russell Westbrook‘s Thunder and even this Clippers squad.
Now L.A. return to Houston in front of Clutch City (thus named for a reason) with a Rockets squad who has all the momentum in the series and a bearded man looking to notch his own place in history.
Vegas may have the Clippers favored, but then again being discounted and written off by the masses all season is what this seasons Rockets are used to. Just ask the Clippers who saw their 19 point lead dissipate on the court Thursday. What they experienced is a Houston team not ready to acquiesce and roll over and die. They’ve fought through adversity all year, so the pundits and Vegas anointing them the underdogs Sunday it’s simply the perfect motivation they need to prove everyone wrong again.
Make sure to stay connected with Space City Scoop for our continuing playoff coverage, including our pregame analysis, post game player grades and morning after, game recaps.
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