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Paul George, Terance Mann, Reggie Jackson react to win over Jazz, first ever Conference Finals appearance

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After 51 years of futility and playoff failures, the LA Clippers are headed to the Western Conference Finals. Behind big nights from Paul George and Reggie Jackson, as well as monster performance from Terance Mann, the Clippers defeated the Utah Jazz in front of an absolutely raucous Staples Center crowd to advance.

In order to reach the next round, the sellout Staples Center crowd of 17,105 fans had to watch their Clippers go down as many as 25 points in the third quarter before mounting the most improbable comeback. Everyone on hand, including the players, knew the significance of Friday’s game.
“They have been starving, starved for success,” head coach Tyronn Lue said. “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, or when CP got hurt or Blake got hurt.”
The Clippers enjoyed a roller coaster of a regular season, winning a lot of games and getting a lot of different guys minutes. Unfortunately, they also dealt with some health issues to key guys throughout the year. One thing they’ve maintained through and through: their will to win.
“Our team, I just tell you, they just don’t quit. They keep fighting and competing and I think our fans see that this year. We never gave in, never pointed a finger. Never pointed the blame on someone else. We looked in the mirror and we owned it and moved on. It was a total team effort all season long, all playoffs long, different rotations, starters not playing, starters playing; Pat Beverley not playing last series and then come in this series and changed the whole series for us. 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.”

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Clippers lead by 7. Jerry West is loving it. Clippers fans are loving it. What a game. pic.twitter.com/doblhTAolk
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) June 19, 2021

With Kawhi Leonard out, Paul George put the team on his shoulders and guided them to two of the most important wins in franchise history. Well, at least so far.
“This was my first time experiencing a crowd like this since I’ve been a Clipper,” George admitted postgame. “Just the whole night was special to be able to be in this arena and to fill that playoff atmosphere in front of my hometown, my friends, my family. So many important people in my life are in this building, and so it was just a special night, a special night. You felt it, the cheers, the excitement. You felt the monkey off of the Clippers’ back in terms of getting out of the second round.”
Paul George finished with 28 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and three steals in 46 minutes of play. His streak of three straight games of at least 30 points was unfortunately broken, but it came with a Conference Finals berth in the process.
Reggie Jackson continued his torrid postseason, pouring in 27 points and 10 assists. He scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half as the Clippers overcame a 25-point deficit to win Game 6.
“It was great to have this building open back up to have full capacity, to have the fans back in here, give them something to cheer for,” Jackson said postgame. “But it was reassuring to come back at the half and see the building packed and see our fans behind us. We knew at some point we had to give them something to cheer for [unless we could get the fans backing us and get the fans voices active, we could try to put our foot on the gas and really try to put Utah with their backs against the wall. We found a way to continue battling. I’m proud of the way the guys came out to battle.”
Jackson was unusually quiet in the first 24 minutes, only playing 14 minutes and making one of his five shot attempts.
Ultimately, the night belonged second-year guard/forward Terance Mann. Mann finished with a career-high 39 points, two rebounds and two steals on 15-of-21 shooting.The 40% three-pointer shooter during the regular season came out and nailed seven of his 10 three point attempts.
“I just play my game, shoot the open shots and get transition and get the easy ones and play defense,” Mann said after his career performance. “That’s what I do and that’s what I get paid to do. I trust my work. When you trust in your work, you trust in yourself, you’re not surprised when any of this happens.”

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Clippers showered Terance Mann after his career-high 39 points. Look at this wholesome content. 😭pic.twitter.com/laAeeupFTq
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) June 19, 2021

Fans inside Staples Center were on their feet for over 35 minutes of real time between the latter stages of the third quarter through the final buzzer. Down 25 to the Jazz, Clippers fans had seen this story before.
A key player goes down. The team suddenly can’t hit shots. The opposition seemingly cannot miss. Fans have seen it with the Houston Rockets, they’ve seen it with the Denver Nuggets, and there came a point where some wondered if the Jazz were next.
Clippers fans remained inside Staples Center long after the buzzer. Some were hugging. A lot of them appeared to be on the phone celebrating. A few were even seen just sitting in disbelief. No one can relate more to Clippers fans on this team can Patrick Beverley.
“It’s special,” Beverley said. “Celebrating just to get in the playoffs, seeing a lot of people come and go, a lot of friends, and to be with an organization like this, to finish a game like this, to make history, is special, man. Because I put blood, sweat and tears into this shit. Injuries, friend getting traded, ups and downs of basketball, to be the last man standing and kind of write history is special, man, very special.”

Loud, Standing ovations for Paul George, Nicolas Batum, Reggie Jackson, and Terance Mann! #Clippers pic.twitter.com/iOpYaGvRzK
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) June 19, 2021

Beverley is currently the longest tenured Clippers player. He’s been through some rough injuries, some rough playoff stretches, and even some tough trade deadlines that saw good friends be dealt elsewhere.
“They deserve it, the city deserves it,” Beverley said as he smiled. “Anyone, for as long as I’ve been here, been working our ass off trying to change the culture of this team. Try to, you know, make us one of those grit teams, those grinding teams. You know, for that to be on full display tonight is very special. Like anything in life, the cream always rise to the top. You get out what you put in, and as a team, as a unit, coaching staff, players, office, we put work into this for years, and you are fortunate that it’s paying off.”
The Clippers now enter uncharted territory, especially with the statuses of Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul still very much up in the air. Leonard missed the last two games of the Clippers-Jazz series as he tended to the ACL injury. Chris Paul, meanwhile, has tested positive for COVID-19 and remains away from the team as he recovers from that.
Game 1 between the Suns and Clippers is set for Sunday afternoon at 12:30PM PST on ESPN.

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