Terance Mann on Friday poured in a career-high 39 points as the Los Angeles Clippers advanced to their first NBA semi-finals in franchise history, rallying to beat the top seeded Utah Jazz 131-119.
The fourth seeded Clippers won their four straight match after losing the first two in Salt Lake City to take the Eastern Conference series in six games.
They stormed back in the second half on Friday after being down by 25 points in the third quarter to reach the league’s final four, ending years of playoff frustration, including a string of NBA quarter-final exits.
Photo: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY
Mann, 24, was electric in just his second career playoff start, shooting 15-of-21 from the field and draining seven of 10 three-pointers in front of a crowd of 17,100 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“I just trust my work,” Mann said. “Everybody was telling me to shoot the ball and that is what I did.”
They next face the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
Second-year player Mann had plenty of help from the veterans on the team. Paul George scored 28 points and added nine rebounds and seven assists for the Clippers, who won despite missing their top player, Kawhi Leonard.
“It feels great,” George said. “They wrote us off when Kawhi went down.”
“He is one of the best young players I have been around,” George said of Mann, whose previous regular season high was 25 points. “He reminds me a lot of myself.”
The Clippers made history without star Leonard, who missed his second consecutive game with a sprained right knee. Reggie Jackson added 27 points and 10 assists. Nicolas Batum contributed 16 points and Patrick Beverley had 12 points in the win.
The Jazz had star guard Mike Conley back on Friday, but it was not enough to salvage their series. Conley finished with five points in 26 minutes of playing time.
Donovan Mitchell, who was playing with a sore ankle, scored a team high 39 points, dished out nine assists and had nine rebounds for the Jazz.
“At the beginning of the third we started turning the ball over and that got them going,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “We were late on our rotations and they took advantage of that.”
Elsewhere, Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers played with more urgency, using a collective offensive effort to come from behind and force a game seven in their second-round NBA playoff series.
Tobias Harris and Seth Curry each scored 24 points and Embiid tallied 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Sixers overcame a double-digit first-half deficit to beat the upstart Atlanta Hawks 104-99. Curry also had six threes.
“You saw the fight and grit of a whole group,” said Harris.
Game 7 would be today at the home arena of the top-seeded 76ers. Philadelphia’s win means both Eastern Conference semi-final series would go to a Game 7 after the Milwaukee Bucks won game six against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.
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