Clippers Erase 25-Point Deficit, Advance to First-Ever Conference Finals

Author:
Publish date:

For most of the night, it looked like the same old horror show was unfolding for the Clippers.

The franchise had come close to advancing to the Western Conference Finals before, only to be turned away time and time again. Facing a 25-point deficit at home in Friday's Game 6 to the Jazz, a Game 7 in Salt Lake City felt inevitable.

But then Terance Mann came to life, and the Clippers rewrote their fate.

Mann scored a career-high 39 points on 15-for-21 shooting as the Clippers stormed back in the second half to win, 131-119, in front of a sold-out home crowd. The win propels them to the conference finals for the first time in their 51-year history.

The Jazz opened up a 25-point lead early in the second half and led, 90-71, midway through the third quarter when the Clippers ripped off a 17-0 run. Mann scored 10 of those 17 points, and Los Angeles closed the quarter trailing by only three.

The Clippers seized the lead early in the fourth on a layup by Reggie Jackson, who was integral in the Clippers' ability to exploit Utah's zone defense in the second half. Jackson finished with 27 points and 10 assists on 10-for-16 shooting from the field.

Paul George scored 28 points with nine rebounds and seven assists. Guard Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 39 points on 9K-for-15 shooting on three-pointers. The Clippers outscored Utah, 81-47, in the second half.

Prior to Friday's game, Mann had scored 59 combined points in 25 career playoff games. His previous career-high in any game was 25 points scored during his rookie season.

With the win, the Clippers become the first team in NBA history to overcome multiple 0-2 series deficits. They did so this time without the help of Kawhi Leonard in the last two games, whose status for the rest of the playoffs remains up in the air as he deals with a knee injury.

The Clippers will take on the Suns in the conference finals. The Clippers won two out of three meetings during the regular season.

More NBA Coverage: