Clippers Collapse
Blake Griffin #32 (L) and DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Los Angeles Clippers sit on the bench after Griffin fouled out in the final stages of the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets during Game Six of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 14, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. The Rockets won 119-107. Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

LOS ANGELES – Clutch City, meet Choke City.

Nearly twenty years ago to the day, the 1995 Houston Rockets led by Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, did the impossible. They overcame a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Phoenix Suns in seven games en route to their second consecutive NBA Championship

Flash forward twenty years later and history may be repeating itself.

Houston mounted a historic come back on Thursday as the Rockets rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 119-107.

"There were times where it seemed like everything was going their way. Blake hit a 360, 180, I don't know what it was and I said, 'man, this is crazy,'" said Dwight Howard. "But we pulled together, we just kept saying we're not going to quit, we're not going to give up, we done come too far just to end it like this, and we just kept fighting.

James Harden led the Rockets with 23 points despite spending a majority of the final quarter on the bench as his teammates mounted a come back for the ages.

"I was a cheerleader," said Harden of the final quarter. "I'm just very proud of my guys for that amazing fourth quarter. They did a tremendous job on both sides of the floor."

Howard dominated down the stretch finishing with 20 points and 21 rebounds. Trevor Ariza locked down the Clippers on defense and scored 13 big points on the other end of the floor.

Terrence Jones had 16 and Corey Brewer scored 19 off the bench for the Rockets.

"Trevor [Ariza] told us at the beginning of the fourth quarter, 'We are going to win the championship, but first we have to win this game right now,'" said Brewer. "If you win this game right now, that's how you become a champion. So we came together and got the win."

The Clippers were up 19 points midway through the third quarter and seemed destined to advance to their first Western Conference Finals in franchise history. Just as the fans started to wave goodbye to the Rockets, the Clippers unraveled in what could be the biggest playoff collapse in franchise history.

The Clippers led the Rockets 89-70 with 2:17 left to play in the third quarter. Similar to games three and four, LA charged out of the gates to start the second half blowing the game open thanks to a 23-6 run to start the third.

Howard picked up a flagrant one foul and a technical foul in less than a minute. Howard dropped his shoulder while Blake Griffin was driving to the basket in the third quarter, and two plays later picked up a technical foul for elbowing DeAndre Jordan in the head on his way back down the floor.

Everything was going right for Lob City, Chris Paul was on fire, and Griffin hit a 360-degree circus shot to punctuate the run. The crowd was on their feet, the Rockets were road kill…and then Lob City became Choke City.

"We took our foot off the gas," said Griffin who finished the game with 28 points, but missed all five of his shots in the fourth quarter. "We stopped defending, a lot of things happened. We've got to come out and play in Game 7. I mean, there's noting more to it. Game 7 is Game 7; its about who wants it more, and I expect us to be ready."

After falling down by 19, the Rockets outscored the Clippers 51-20 over the final 14 minutes. Shocking the home team and their sold-out Staples center crowd.

"In the third quarter, we were great in transition and got big stops on defense," said Paul who had 31 points and 11 assists.

The Clippers epic collapse was just the third time in NBA history a home team with a chance to clinch a playoff series blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter.

J. J. Redick chipped in 15 points, but it was not enough to close out the Rockets.

Josh Smith caught fire down the stretch for the Rockets scoring 8 of his 19 points during a 90 second stretch that tied the game at 102-102.

The Clippers went ice cold during the final six minutes of the game. They couldn't make a basket for over five minutes and the Rockets capitalized going on a 17-0 run over that stretch.

"We were trying to run the clock out, and we stopped playing," explained Clippers' head coach Doc Rivers who could become the first coach in NBA history to lose multiple series in the NBA playoffs with a 3-1 lead. "We gave this one away."

After the game, droves of longtime Clippers fans had that dreaded feeling that the Clippers' curse had once again reared its ugly head. For years, every time the Clippers appear to be on the precipice of success, something happens to derail their future.

It's just like the Clippers to ruin a storybook ending, but it's also just like them to have a flair for the dramatics. Many believed after the Clippers choked away games 2 and 5 against the Spurs that the curse had returned, but they put those fears to rest with a thrilling game 7 victory at home.

Can they do it again on Sunday? Only time will tell.

Game Notes:
The Rockets outrebounded the Clippers 60-41 with Howard grabbing 21 of those 60.

After playing every-other-day throughout the series, the teams will have two days rest before Game 7 tips off on Sunday.

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