Clippers handle 76ers for 5th straight win

Defeating the Philadelphia 76ers (32-14) 122-112, the Los Angeles Clippers (31-16) extended their winning streak to five games on Saturday night. With Kawhi Leonard and Marcus Morris Sr. returning to the line-up following their one-game absence, the Clippers starters provided a balanced effort across the board as they handled the Sixers who continue to play with big man Joel Embiid.

After being down early in the first quarter by 10 points, the Clippers battled back with the help of their new special weapon, Terrance Mann. Coming off the bench, Mann exploded for a season-high 23 points on the night as he went 10-12 from the field, including knocking down both of his attempts from beyond the arc.

For head coach Tyronn Lue, the ability to find Mann minutes once the team welcomes new teammate Rajon Rondo into the lineup is a good problem to have.

“T-Mann’s growth each game is getter better and better,” Lue said. “He’s really confident right now, his confidence is through the roof right now.”

Mann started the comeback in the second quarter when Paul George provided him with a beautiful outlet pass off a steal that led to a fastbreak dunk and ignited the Clipper comeback. Mann followed the dunk with a three-pointer on the next possession that gave the Clippers their first lead of the second quarter and the team was able to extend it to a five-point lead at the half with the help of Leonard.

“I was out there playing my game and it was coming my way,” Mann said. “It’s no surprise to me I just keep working.”

Leonard scored 12 of his 28 game points in the second quarter as he led the team in scoring for the night. But for Leonard, despite being on a five-game win streak and finding some consistency, the ability to stay focused game in and game out continues to be the main focus.

“Onto the next game, focus on one game at a time,” Leonard said. “Live in the moment and continue to get better every game.”

The Clippers came out of the locker room in the second half on fire, quickly going on a 7-0 run to start the quarter and extend their lead to a dozen. George, who finished the night with a near triple-double, scored the first bucket of the third quarter and ended his night with 23 points alongside 9 rebounds and 9 assists including going 7-7 from the free-throw line.

George was one of three Clippers to eclipse 20 points on the night, with teammates Leonard and Mann each breaking the mark as well. The trio combined for 75 of the team’s total points on the night, including 35 points from the bench carried by Mann’s productive night.

“It’s pretty cool to see what I work on during work during the game,” Mann said. “I’m just going to keep working on my game and see what I do,” Mann added.

For coach Lue, the team’s play has steadily improved over the last few weeks and hopes that this focus and drive continues leading into the final six weeks of the season.

“Our mindset was right tonight,” Lue said.

As the Clippers continue their nine-game homestand, they next will play host to the Milwaukee Bucks (29-16) and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo Monday night as they look to extend their winning streak to six games. The Bucks enter the game on a two-game losing streak after reeling off eight straight victories of their own. They currently sit three games out of first place in the East and hold the third spot in the conference.

Featured Image: Los Angeles Clippers forward Terance Mann looks to inbound a pass against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, March 20, 2021. Photo credit: Mark Hammond/News4usonline

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