LOS ANGELES — Paul George, Terance Mann and the Los Angeles Clippers have discovered to thrive underneath adversity.
So, after they trailed by 25 factors early within the third quarter Friday night time in Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinal sequence in opposition to the Utah Jazz, it was nothing new.
Instead of being rattled, the Clippers rallied, posting the biggest comeback victory by a crew in a series-clinching win during the last 25 seasons and advancing to a convention final for the primary time within the franchise’s 51-year historical past.
Mann scored 25 of his career-high 39 factors within the second half because the Clippers posted a 131-119 victory to get rid of the Jazz.
The Clippers are the primary crew in NBA historical past to rally from a pair of 2-0 sequence deficits in the identical postseason. They had to do it this time with out All-Star ahead Kawhi Leonard, who was sidelined by a sprained right knee for the final two video games.
“They have been starving, starved for success. They have had a lot of good teams and just caught a lot of bad breaks. We know when Kawhi went down, probably thinking the same thing over and over again,” coach Tyronn Lue mentioned. “Our team, I just tell you, they just don’t quit. It’s a total team effort and we are all trying to win and our team is willing to do whatever it takes to win.”
The fourth-seeded Clippers will face second-seeded Phoenix within the Western Conference finals. Game 1 is Sunday in Phoenix. Los Angeles gained two of the three video games within the common season.
The close-out victory was seen by 17,105 at Staples Center, marking the primary time in 15 months the Clippers had performed in entrance of a full home after California eased COVID-19 security restrictions on Tuesday.
“You felt the monkey off of the Clippers’ back in terms of getting out of the second round,” mentioned George, who had 28 factors. “It was only a particular night time. You know, you felt it, the cheers, the thrill.
“The playoffs are about grit. It’s about fighting. It’s about whatever it takes, and time after time, I think we’ve shown that.”
Mann — who had 25 factors within the first 5 video games of the sequence — helped deliver the Clippers again with 20 factors within the third quarter. Utah had a 94-91 lead going into the final 12 minutes, however Jackson gave the Clippers their first lead since early within the second quarter when his layup made it 96-95 with 10:36 remaining.
Mann was 15 of 21 from the sphere and in addition turned simply the third participant in franchise historical past to make at the very least seven 3s in a postseason recreation.
“You saw a full complete game from a second-year player,” mentioned George of Mann. “I mean, you saw him stretch the floor. You saw him rebound, muscle his way to the basket. You just saw so many flashes of so many different things. He did it in the most crucial part of the game.”
The Clippers had a 107-106 lead with eight minutes remaining earlier than they seized management with 9 straight factors, together with 5 by Mann. The closest the Jazz would get after that was six.
Donovan Mitchell led top-seeded Utah with 39 factors. It is the second time in franchise historical past the Jazz have blown a 25-point lead in a postseason recreation.
Royce O’Neale added 21 for the Jazz. They had the NBA’s prime regular-season report however misplaced 4 straight for the primary time all 12 months.
“We just turned the ball over a lot. We didn’t execute defensively. We didn’t get back and let their guys do whatever they want,” mentioned Mitchell, who had seven video games within the playoffs with 30 or extra factors.
Mitchell opened the second half with a 33-foot, step again 3-pointer to give the Jazz a 75-50 lead 24 seconds into the third quarter. It was 88-67 with 6:37 remaining when LA fought its approach again by occurring a 21-2 run to get inside a basket with 1:42 remaining with 10 factors from Mann and Jackson scoring 9.
“When Mitchell hit that 3-pointer, I was thinking that we didn’t want to go home,” Mann mentioned. “I had a lot to do. They left me open and I hit my shots. The offense is going to take care of itself if you are confident in your game.”
A dunk by O’Neale and Mitchell’s pair of free throws pushed Utah’s lead again up to six, however Jackson’s 3-pointer’s with 11.1 seconds remaining lower the benefit in half heading into the fourth quarter.
The first half noticed 12 lead adjustments. Rajon Rondo’s layup with 9:17 remaining within the second quarter gave LA a 41-40 lead earlier than Utah outscored the Clippers 33-10 the rest of the half to take a 72-50 benefit on the break.
The Jazz went on a 21-2 run that included 17 straight factors by Jordan Clarkson, together with a pair of 3-pointers.
“It’s hard, particularly when we have the kind of lead we did going into the second half to see the game finish that way and the season finish that way,” Utah coach Quin Snyder mentioned. “I’m incredibly proud of this team. When we finish on a game like this, it’s hard to reflect what I think was some high level performances in the playoffs, what Donovan was able to do, a lot of the individual things that our guys did.”