The Clippers had a 19-point lead in the third quarter, and were only 12 minutes away from clinching their second-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets, which they entered Thursday's game leading, 3-2.
Then the Clippers completely fell apart, both offensively and defensively.
The Clippers were outscored, 40-14, in the fourth quarter, and ended up losing to the Rockets, 119-107, in Game 6 at Staples Center. The teams will play a winner-takes-all Game 7 on Sunday.
How bad were the Clippers in the fourth quarter?
The Rockets were 12 for 19 from the field (63.2%), while the Clippers were 4 for 22 (18.2%). The Clippers went 6:45 without a field goal after Chris Paul’s driving layup with 6:47 left. The Clippers were also outrebounded, 21-5.
Blake Griffin didn't score, missing each of his five shots. Jamal Crawford didn't score, missing each of his four shots. The Clippers were outshot from beyond the three-point line, 63.6% to 22.2%, the Rockets making seven of their 11 shots from beyond the arc, the Clippers making only two of their nine shots from that distance.
"I felt bad for them, honestly, because they want it so bad," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. "And sometimes you want stuff so bad that you can't get it because you're in your own way."
The Clippers were on the verge of reaching the Western Conference Finals for the first time in their 45-year franchise history. Instead they are on the verge of a giant collapse.
Only eight teams in NBA history have recovered from a 3-1 series deficit to advance to the next round. After Thursday's win, Rockets' center Dwight Howard said he thinks his team can pull off the improbable.
"Our faith was tested all night and throughout this whole series, and instead of us folding, we just kept it together," Dwight Howard said. "Now we've got one more game."
While the Rockets were celebrating, the Clippers were mourning. DeAndre Jordan sat by his locker in his towel for a while, appearing to be in shock. When he eventually spoke to reporters, he summed up his team's postgame sentiment in two words.
"It's disappointing," Jordan said.