LOS ANGELES — 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.
Paul George had 28 points and Reggie Jackson added 27 to help the fourth-seeded Clippers advance to face second-seeded Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference finals. Game 1 is Sunday in Phoenix.
The Clippers 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. The Jazz 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 from Mann. The closest the Jazz would get after that was six.
Donovan Mitchell led the top-seeded Jazz with 39 points. It is the second time in franchise history the Jazz have blown a 25-point lead in a postseason game.
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 the Jazz 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 the Clippers a 41-40 lead before the Jazz went on a 33-10 run 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 from Clarkson, including a pair of 3-pointers.