In the second round of the 2015 Western Conference playoffs, the Houston Rockets mounted an epic comeback to force a Game 7 against the LA Clippers. The memory still stays with some former Clippers that let it happen.
After securing the second seed in the Western Conference heading into the 2015 playoffs, the Houston Rockets looked dead in the water against the LA Clippers in round two. Facing a must-win Game 6, the Rockets found themselves down by 19 late in the third quarter in front of a hostile Los Angeles crowd.
As the third quarter was winding down, something remarkable happened. With their superstar, James Harden, resting on the bench, Houston mounted a comeback led by Corey Brewer and Josh Smith. After struggling from the field all game long, suddenly the Rockets couldn’t miss from the outside, going on a massive 23-2 run to stun a Clippers team seemingly looking ahead to Golden State.
The Houston Rockets rode the momentum of the big win to complete a 3-1 series comeback over Los Angeles by winning Game 7 by 13. The comeback, particularly the way it came about, still haunts some former Clippers who saw those playoffs as their best chance to win a ring.
“Houston sits James and they make a miraculous comeback, and it was just a domino effect after that,” said Barnes.
The collapse, of course, resulted in one of three 3-1 comebacks Doc Rivers has allowed in his playoff coaching career.
“How many times have you thought about the fourth quarter of that game?” Redick asked Barnes. “The different plays that happened — Josh Smith hitting three threes, Corey Brewer hitting a couple of threes.”
Smith and Brewer ended the game with 19 points each, leading a fourth quarter that saw the Rockets hold an astounding 40-15 advantage to take the game 119-107. The resulting series win gave Houston their first Western Conference Finals appearance since the 1996-97 season.
While acknowledging the Clippers blew it, Reddick made sure to give some thoughts about why they didn’t put up a big fight in the deciding Game 7.
“I remember that Game 7, I was so tired. I think we underestimate how much that San Antonio series took out of us. We weren’t that deep. Our starters were playing heavy minutes. I don’t ever get tired and I just remember feeling exhausted coming out of timeouts.”
Of course, the Clippers only had themselves to blame for even having to play a Game 7, considering they missed their last 14 field goal attempts in their Game 6 collapse. Still, Redick laments the fact that they were so close to having a real shot at an NBA title but let the chance slip.
“I certainly think those first two years I was in L.A, those were squandered opportunities. We had the personnel to get it done, and it just didn’t happen,” said Redick.
The Houston Rockets went on to face a stacked Golden State Warriors team that had no problems dispatching them in five games on the way to their first of three titles in four years.