Clippers' Game 7 history: Better than you think, at least in the first round

·2 min read
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, left, hugs guard Chris Paul after they defeated the San Antonio Spurs.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin, left, hugs guard Chris Paul after they defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 in the first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The Clippers will play the ninth Game 7 in franchise history Sunday. It's been a mixed bag, with far greater luck in the first round than the second. The Clippers have won three of four opening-round Game 7's. The franchise is more famous for its 0-4 mark in second-round Game 7s (which includes a 1975 series loss, as the Buffalo Braves, to the Washington Bullets), but that's a story for the second round.

None of this will have any bearing on Sunday's showdown against the Dallas Mavericks, but it's interesting nonetheless. Here's the Game 7 breakdown in the first round:

2017

The year the Clippers last played in a first-round Game 7, they lost to the Utah Jazz. The 104-91 defeat would mark the beginning of the end of the "Lob City" Clippers. Point guard Chris Paul would sign with the Houston Rockets as a free agent that offseason. A season later, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan would be gone as well.

Clippers Game 7 outcomes.
Clippers Game 7 outcomes. (Tim Hubbard / Los Angeles Times)

2015

The last year the Clippers won a first-round Game 7, against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. Paul capped the 111-109 thriller on a running jumper with a second remaining. The game featured Griffin's triple-double (24 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists), 31 lead changes and 16 ties. The Clippers would take a 3-1 series lead against the Rockets in the second round before losing the next three.

2014

The Clippers overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors 126-121 at Staples Center. The Clippers would fall to the Kevin Durant- and Russell Westbrook-led Oklahoma City Thunder in six games in the second round. Fascinating fact: That Clippers-Warriors showdown is the last Western Conference playoff series that the Warriors have lost.

Fascinating fact: Th 2014 Clippers-Warriors showdown is the last Western Conference playoff series that the Warriors have lost.

2012

The first time the Clippers played in a first-round Game 7 was against the Memphis Grizzlies, an 82-72 road win. Do you remember the bench of Kenyon Martin, Nick Young, Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe? It was vital to the first Clippers playoff series victory in six years, as they outscored the Grizzlies' bench 41-11. The Clippers would be swept by the Spurs in the second round.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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