Clippers' plane struck by lightning ahead of OT loss to Nuggets in unreal NBA weekend
During an unreal stretch of basketball, the Los Angeles Clippers arguably had the most eventful weekend. The team's 134-124 loss to the Denver Nuggets came in overtime Sunday, after Paul George cashed a shot from beyond half court too late to win the game in regulation.
George's almost game-winner was reminiscent of the nearly full court heave Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid drilled on Saturday night. His didn't beat the buzzer to tie a game with the Boston Celtics after Jayson Tatum made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left.
As overtime in Colorado began, it was casually mentioned on the broadcast that the Clippers' plane was struck by lightning on the way there.
Yes, it was -- right after takeoff in L.A. https://t.co/YpMWwGiX23
— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) February 27, 2023
The Clippers boarded the plane a day after taking a double-overtime 176-175 loss to the Sacramento Kings Friday, where both teams combined for the second-highest scoring game in NBA history. According to Los Angeles Times reporter Andrew Greif, the plane was jolted within a minute of takeoff.
Passengers reportedly felt the engines momentarily quiet before revving up again. Upon arrival, there was a reported absence of paint where the plane was struck on its tail.
According to the National Weather Service, commercial planes are hit by lightning at an average of one or two times a year and are designed to conduct the currents through built-in paths. The incident normally mandates an inspection for damage, which can delay flights and come at great financial cost.
Still, the Clippers made it from one OT loss to another, where Denver completed a four game sweep of Los Angeles and dropped the team's record to 33-30.
The Clippers took five shots in overtime and missed them all, scoring 4 points from free throws. Kawhi Leonard scored 33 points while Paul George, who remains on a minutes restriction, had 23. Russell Westbrook continues to mesh with his new team and had 17 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists.
Los Angeles head coach Ty Lue seemed to take the tumultuous weekend in stride.
"We're good," he said after the game. "We played two really good teams, No. 1 team in the [Western Conference, Denver]. We were a rebound away from winning the game, just some small things that we need to clean up."
A cleaner game may have prevented Nikola Jokic's late steal and lob to Bruce Brown for an alley oop dunk, which capped his 23rd triple-double of the season with a minute left in overtime. In context of all of Sunday night's events, Jokic's 40-point performance fades into the background.
Considering Portland Trailblazers star Damian Lillard's 71-point explosion and the Los Angeles Lakers comeback from a 27-point deficit to beat the Dallas Mavericks in the biggest NBA comeback this season, it's understandable that a measly lightning strike would barely draw any attention.