NBA

‘He did it all.’ Lowell’s Terance Mann erupted for 39 points and lifted the Clippers to their first conference finals

Mann has filled in admirably for superstar Kawhi Leonard.

Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann, right, celebrates with guard Paul George after scoring and drawing a foul during the first half in Game 6 on Friday. Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo

When the Los Angeles Clippers lost superstar Kawhi Leonard to an apparent knee injury following Game 4 of the second round, many assumed the momentum of the 2-2 series would swing heavily in the Utah Jazz’s favor.

Instead, the Clippers rallied in both Game 5 and Game 6, stunning the Jazz and advancing to their first Western Conference Finals in the franchise’s 51-year history.

One main reason for their unprecedented success is the sterling play of shooting guard Terance Mann, who scored 13 points and was plus-15 in a 119-111 Game 5 win and erupted for 39 on 15-of-21 shooting as the Clippers erased a 25-point deficit to steal Game 6, 131-119.

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The second-year pro Mann, who grew up in Lowell and attended the Tilton School in New Hampshire, picked an ideal time to piece together the best game of his young career. He averaged 7 points per game this season, but when the opportunity to start presented itself late in this series, he took full advantage.

Teammate Paul George said Mann “did it all” in Game 6 and single-handedly willed the Clippers back. Mann finished with seven 3-pointers and scored 30 of his 39 points with Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert on him, becoming just the third player in NBA playoff history to score 30-plus against a single primary defender.

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“I mean, you saw him stretch the floor,” George said. “You saw him defensively. You saw him rebound. You saw him 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. I think that’s what’s most impressive.”

The Clippers shot 71.4 percent and scored 80 points in the second half, and Mann was at the crux of the comeback.

“I just had to lock in and do what I had to do,” Mann told reporters. “They were leaving me open.”

Fourth-seeded Los Angeles advances to face the second-seeded Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals. Game 1 is set for Sunday, June 20, at 3:30 p.m. EST.

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