For the first time in the franchise’s 50-year history, the Los Angeles Clippers are going to the conference finals. And the way they made it happen is pretty remarkable.
Most hoops evaluators counted the Clippers out once Kawhi Leonard suffered a knee injury that may keep him out for the remainder of the playoffs, but Los Angeles shocked the Jazz in Utah in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead. Things once again looked bleak for the Clipppers in Game 6 in Los Angeles on Friday night after the Jazz had a 25-point lead in the third quarter.
But the Clippers put together an insane second half, outscoring the Jazz 81-47 to come away with a 131-119 win over the West’s No. 1 seed. Yes, a 25-point second-half deficit turned into a 12-point series-clinching win for Los Angeles.
The third quarter – 41-22 Clippers — was particularly unbelievable, featuring a 17-0 run. Terance Mann — making his second career playoff start — had 20 points in that quarter and 39 in the game (15-0f-21 from the field, 7-of-10 on threes). Mann had 25 points total in the series entering Game 6, but played the game of his life to put the Clippers in the conference finals.
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) June 19, 2021
"Terance Mann for three… BANG! Terance Mann is unstoppable!"- Mike Breen pic.twitter.com/K6KJg18lOr
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) June 19, 2021
Paul George (28) and Reggie Jackson (27) combined to add another 55 Clippers points. Los Angeles was extremely efficient in all of the shooting departments, going 48-of-85 from the field (58.9%), 20-of-39 on triples (51.3%), and 15-of-17 (88.2%) from the charity stripe.
The Clippers will face the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals. While Los Angeles will likely be without Leonard, Phoenix star point guard Chris Paul entered the COVID-related health and safety protocols and is out indefinitely. So, both teams could be without hugely impactful players, and the Clippers now know they have players like Mann that can step up in the big moment.