On Monday night (Tuesday morning IST), when the LA Clippers take on the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, they will be facing the daunting task of overturning a 1-3 deficit. This has happened only four times in the NBA Conference Finals. The last time it happened was in 2016 when the Golden State Warriors came back to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder. But in the NBA Finals, the Warriors suffered the same fate losing the championships to Cleveland Cavaliers after securing a 3-1 lead. At the helm of this spectacular turnaround, the only time it happened in an NBA Finals, was Tyronn Lue, who now is looking to write a similar script for the LA Clippers.
“It’s very doable,” Lue said of overcoming the deficit. “Just got to take it one game at a time. Focus on Monday’s game, that’s it.” Historically, the Clippers have blown 3-1 series deficits, having given up two in the past six years (2015, 2020). Lue was an assistant to coach Doc Rivers last season when Clippers lost a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Semifinals to the Denver Nuggets. But Lue knows a thing or two about beating the odds.
“We beat Utah and won four games in a row,” Lue said of the Clippers’ second-round triumph in six games. Lue has a .667 series win pct (4-2) after trailing 2-0. All other head coaches in NBA history have a .062 series win pct (20-299) after trailing 2-0 in best-of-seven series. Their first-round win over Dallas Mavericks was also a comeback of sorts as they trailed 3-2 and then went on to win in seven games.
There is no team this season that has come back from the brink the way Lue’s Clippers have. If coach Lue believes they can be third time lucky, it could just happen and the beginning of that would be the game five Monday night
Catch the action live on Star Sports Select and the NBA League Pass at 6:30 AM IST