LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — Terance Mann scored a career-high 39 points and the Los Angeles Clippers advanced to a conference final for the first time in the franchise’s 51-year history, beating the Utah Jazz 131-119 on Friday night.
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It was also the first time in 15 months that Staples Center was completely full with live fans, as thousands flocked to the stadium to see their team make history.
Paul George had 28 points and Reggie Jackson added 27 to help the fourth-seeded advance to face second-seeded Phoenix in the Western Conference finals. Game 1 is Sunday in Phoenix.
Los Angeles won the final two games against the Jazz with All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard sidelined by a sprained right knee.
The Clippers trailed by 25 points early in the third quarter before rallying. It is the third time in franchise history the Clippers have trailed by at least 22 points in a postseason game and come back to win.
Mann helped fuel the rally with 20 points in the third quarter. Utah had a 94-91 lead going into the final 12 minutes, but Jackson gave the Clippers their first lead since early in the second quarter when his layup made it 96-95 advantage with 10:36 remaining.
Mann also was just the third player in franchise history to make at least seven 3s in a postseason game.
The Clippers had a 107-106 lead with eight minutes remaining before they seized control with nine straight points, including five by Mann. The closest the Jazz would get after that was six.
Donovan Mitchell led top-seeded Utah with 39 points. It is the second time in franchise history the Jazz have blown a 25-point lead in a postseason game.READ MORE: Toronto tops Ducks, 5-1; Campbell Saves 39 Of 40 Shots On Goal
Royce O’Neale added 21 for the Jazz. They had the NBA’s top regular-season record but lost four straight for the first time all year.
Mitchell opened the second half with a 33-foot, step back 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 way back by going on a 21-2 run to get within a basket with 1:42 remaining with 10 points from Mann and Jackson scoring nine.
A dunk by Royce O’Neale and Mitchell’s pair of free throws pushed Utah’s lead back up to six, but Jackson’s 3-pointer’s with 11.1 seconds remaining cut the advantage in half heading into the fourth quarter.
The first half saw 12 lead changes. Rajon Rondo’s layup with 9:17 remaining in the second quarter gave LA a 41-40 lead before Utah outscored the Clippers 33-10 the remainder of the half to take a 72-50 advantage at the break.
The Jazz went on a 21-2 run that included 17 straight points by Clarkson, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Jazz: Jordan Clarkson had all 21 of his points in the second quarter. … Mike Conley was back in the lineup after missing five games due to a right hamstring strain and scored five points in 26 minutes. …. Mitchell scored 16 in the first quarter. It is the fourth time this postseason he has 12 or more in the first 12 minutes.
Clippers: Since 1997, Mann is the only player in franchise history to score 20 or more points in a single quarter in a postseason game. … Jackson had a season-high 10 assistsMORE NEWS: Silver Alert Issued For Local Artist, 87-Year-Old Billy Al Bengston, Last Seen Early Sunday Morning
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