With a spectacular comeback and an unexpected hero, young Terance Mann, Los Angeles Clippers beat the Utah Jazz 131-119 on Friday and they qualified for their first NBA conference final in their 51-year history.
The Clippers they got over their ‘poor brother’ complex for once of the Lakers on a memorable night in which they lifted a 25-point deficit and finished the tie 4-2 without their star, the injured Kawhi Leonard.
Terance Mann, a regular backup who averaged 7.0 points per game this season, was the Clippers’ great savior with 39 points and 7 triples that made the Staples Center explode with joy as it was not remembered in a Clippers game.
It is a “special night,” said a beaming Paul George, the second star of the team, who finished with 28 points. “This is the first time I’ve experienced a crowd like this since I was a Clipper.”
The Los Angeles franchise will face Sunday in the final of the Western Conference the Phoenix suns, which previously eliminated the defending champions Lakers and the Denver Nuggets.
The Jazz, the best team in the regular season, came to dominate this tie 2-0. This Friday they had a 72-50 advantage at halftime thanks to their star Donovan Mitchell (39 points and 9 triples) but they were unable to stop the offensive onslaught from Los Angeles in the second half.
“It is very hard, especially with the advantage we had, to end the game and the season in this way”said a dejected Quin Snyder, Utah coach. “I am incredibly proud of this team, although when you finish with a game like this it is difficult to keep the great year we had.”
After losing Game 5 at Utah, the Jazz were forced to win this Friday to force the seventh and final game.
The Jazz raced off with point guard Mike Conley back on the team and Donovan Mitchell well recovered from his ankle injury, scoring 22 points in the first half.
But after the break Utah collapsed before Mann’s appearance, who riddled them with triples from the corner leading a 17-0 run for the Clippers. I just trusted my work. Everybody told me to pitch and I did, “said the forward, who added 20 points in a magical third quarter.
The forward, 24, selected with number 48 in the 2019 Draft, started due to the loss of Leonard and his highest score in these playoffs so far was 13 points. «He is one of the young people that I have seen the most work. It reminds me of myself, ”said Paul George with his partner. “We said, ‘You worked so hard for what?’ Get out there and do it.
The Clippers took the lead early in the fourth quarter and did not let the Jazz beat them again in a final few minutes of maximum euphoria for their 17,000 fans, who lifted a great weight from their shoulders after decades of continuous playoff frustrations .
The Los Angeles team, which failed last year in its first season with the Kawhi Leonard-Paul George couple, returned to bring out the character it exhibited in the first round against the Dallas Mavericks (4-3).
The Clippers, always questioned, are now the first team in history to come back from more than one playoff tie with 2-0 against the same year. In the other game on Friday, the Philadelphia 76ers outlasted the Atlanta Hawks and Trae Young’s recital (34 points) to force a seventh and final game in this NBA Eastern Conference semifinal.
The Sixers, ranked No. 1 in the East in the regular season, prevailed 104-99 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta and will now have the home court advantage in Sunday’s decisive game. The other East semi-final, between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets, will also be decided in a seventh game on Saturday.
Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia star, had 22 points and 13 rebounds and guard Seth Curry 24 points and 6 triples). Trae Young, who continues to amaze in the early playoffs of his career, led the Hawks to a tight finish with a career count of 34 points, 5 triples and 11 assists.
The Sixers, who were playing the elimination and a possible end of the project around Embiid and Simmons, kept their cool and sealed the victory against the Hawks who lost Bogdan Bogdanovic (7 points), retired due to problems in his right knee. With this victory, the Sixers for the moment avoided their third elimination in the last four years in a conference semifinal, a round they have not surpassed since 2001.