OAKLAND, Calif. — Landry Shamet hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 16.5 seconds left, Stephen Curry couldn’t answer on the other end, and the Los Angeles Clippers climbed back from a 31 points down to stun the Golden State Warriors 135-131 on Monday night and even their first-round playoff series at one game apiece.
It was a historic comeback that topped a 29-point rally by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1989 Western Conference semis over Seattle.
Curry scored 29 points and put the Warriors up 131-128 with 58 seconds left before Shamet’s dagger on a night the two-time defending NBA champions lost DeMarcus Cousins to a leg injury in the first quarter.
Lou Williams tied the game on a jumper with 1:10 to play then Curry immediately answered. Williams scored again at 46 seconds and finished with 36 points and made 8 of 10 free throws in as the teams combined for 64 fouls and 76 free throws attempted.
Cousins injured his left quadriceps muscle in the first quarter and was done for the game, but Golden State’s depth shined and the Warriors built a 23-point halftime lead they pushed to a 31-point advantage failing to hold off Los Angeles late.
76ERS 145, NETS 123
PHILADELPHIA — Ben Simmons had 18 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds and the 76ers had an answer for the pesky Nets in a win to even their Eastern Conference playoff series.
Simmons had a disastrous Game 1, on the court (nine points) and from a PR perspective after he criticized fans for booing during a game the Sixers were never really in. He backtracked the next day at practice and never gave another 20,591 fans a chance to do anything but roar in approval in Game 2. Simmons flashed the All-Star form that helped lead the Sixers to 51 wins, and was aggressive from tipoff. He used his size and speed to attack the lane and scored 16 points in the half — and then put the game away in the third.
The Sixers busted the game open with a 14-0 run to start the second half and then stretched the lead to 20 on a Simmons steal and fastbreak basket. With a packed house standing, Simmons got a massive ovation when he cupped his hand to his right ear just like Iverson did in his prime.
Iverson and former Sixers teammate Dikembe Mutombo attended the game and tossed T-shirts into the crowd.
OAKLAND — With the three-day dismantling of the Lakers came the speculation and, in some part, concern, among Warriors fans that the team in Los Angeles might come hunting in the Bay Area in hopes of breaking off a piece of the dynasty.
No name was being thrown about more than that of president and general manager Bob Myers. From the moment Magic Johnson stepped down from his position with the Lakers on Tuesday, there has been no shortage of text messages, phone calls and general conversation regarding the possibility of Myers leaving the Warriors for the Lakers.
He went to UCLA and worked out of Los Angeles during his days as an agent, so . . .
Maybe (Warriors CEO) Joe Lacob thinks his son, Kirk, is ready for the job, so . . ..
The Lakers could make an irresistible offer, right?
Which may be why on Myers, standing on the sideline of the practice court as the Warriors prepared for Game 1 against the Clippers on Saturday, needed a couple seconds to catch my drift.
Me: What are you doing here today?
Bob: What do you mean?
Me: Shouldn’t you be having lunch with (Lakers controlling owner) Jeanie Buss?
Bob: Oh, right. Almost forgot. (Looks at his watch) I’m supposed to meet her at 2.
Myers then laughed a laugh that suggests he’s not eager to go anywhere anytime soon, even if there are days and nights when he probably wouldn’t mind.
For one, Lakers GM Rob Pelinka seems overtly secure in his status, practically diving headlong into the power vacuum created by Johnson’s departure and showing coach Luke Walton the door Friday morning.
For two, Myers, who has lived his entire life in either the Bay Area or Southern California, knows whatever headaches that come with his current job would barely register when compared with those felt by the man responsible for the care and feeding of the most beloved sports team in America’s entertainment center.
For three, Lacob may be incredibly driven, sometimes maniacally so, but he surely has come to realize Myers’ value to the emotional stability of the franchise. Lacob doesn’t make questionable decisions to save a dollar or two. Or even a $1 million or more.
As the Warriors have gotten bigger and bolder – and, therefore, requiring of maintenance both routine and emergency – it’s incumbent to have someone like Myers. He has been there to guide both Kevin Durant and Draymond Green through various spasms of turbulence. He has been there when coach Steve Kerr was about to blow and has definitely been there when Lacob was on the verge of detonation.
When DeMarcus Cousins was done with the New Orleans Pelicans, he reached out to Myers. No matter how good the Warriors are, Cousins wouldn’t dare make such move unless he had done his research on Myers and concluded the Warriors GM was approachable and worthy of trust.
Every successful franchise has someone who can go into any office in the building and be as comfortable lending an ear as spreading a word. Someone who can talk one guy down from the ledge and another guy onto a task. And a “cooler,” able to chill the boiling blood of any number of individuals from the front office to the coaching staff to the scouting department and, of course, the men on the roster that have made the Warriors what they have become.
When Draymond Green made the famous comment after the championship parade in 2017 – “Can somebody give Bob Myers some (bleeping) credit?” – he was talking less about roster construction than Myers’ knack for rinsing away the potentially toxic issues that inevitably come when surrounded by so many substantial egos.
Does Myers have detractors? Sure. A few folks look at recent drafts and wonder what’s taking so long to find the next great Warrior.
Myers also knows there will come a day when the Warriors won’t routinely give the rest of the NBA little more than the backs of their hands. Those close to him seem to believe that’s a challenge he relishes.
That day is not yet upon them. Neither is the day when Myers relocates his family to LA, or anyplace else in the NBA. Lacob is smart enough to know if his GM were to leave, his first priority would be to find another Bob Myers.
The trendy rumor floating around NBA circles is that Warriors general manager Bob Myers could leave the back-to-back champs to join the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office.
But Myers himself laughed at the thought when NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole asked him about it Friday. Then, on Saturday, Warriors CEO Joe Lacob poured even more cold water on the idea.
“No one [from the Lakers] has called me. I can say that,” Lacob told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Greg Papa on “Warriors Playoff Central” before Game 1 of the first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Lacob spoke about what Myers means to him, and also didn’t rule out something unexpected happening.
“We’ll have to wait and see if something like that did occur,” Lacob said. “He’s a great part of our family here, and I feel very close to him. I consider him like a son, almost. I would be surprised by that, I guess. … We’ll see.
“I know there’s been a lot of media speculation. Things happen, so you have to be prepared for it.”
Myers went to UCLA and was based out of Los Angeles when he was an agent, so the connection to LA is there. But Myers also grew up a Warriors fan, so leaving would be tough for him.
Plus, the Warriors are a well-oiled machine right now. The Lakers are a car wreck, after they missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season and team president Magic Johnson surprisingly quit earlier this week.
Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin will likely miss the entire first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks because of a left knee injury, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Griffin has battled the injury for the past several weeks, getting pulled from the Pistons’ second-to-last game against Memphis and missing the season finale against New York, games the Pistons needed to win — and did — to qualify for the last playoff spot.
After initially missing three games with the sprained knee, Griffin returned April 5 against Oklahoma City to score 45 points, but the knee swelled again and limited his effectiveness two nights later against Charlotte. The Pistons are concerned that could happen in the playoff series against the Bucks, even with the possibility of Griffin having 10 days off heading into Game 3 on Wednesday at Little Caesars Arena.
Griffin will be listed as day to day for the remainder of the series, with a league source calling it a “slim chance” he plays this weekend. There’s no structural damage in the left knee, and it’s unclear whether he’ll need some type of minor procedure this offseason. Griffin and team doctors will decide the best course of action when the season concludes.
Griffin has been the catalyst for the Pistons making the playoffs for only the second time in the last decade, and he’s stayed largely healthy until this injury. Griffin played 75 games in his first full season in Detroit — his most since 2013-14 — and the organization wants to preserve his health for the long term because he’s under contract until 2021-22. He was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers in January 2018.
Griffin had a career year this season while making his sixth All-Star team, averaging 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists while shooting 36.2 percent from 3-point range.