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Clippers reserves close regular season with 107-103 overtime win

Terance Mann was this close to a triple-double.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Terance Mann and Amir Coffey had career games and the LA Clippers finished the 2019-20 NBA regular season Friday with a 107-103 win in overtime over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Orlando.

Mann came agonizingly close to a triple double, but the youngster played 41 minutes and posted 25 points to lead the team, along with 14 rebounds and nine assists on the day. Coffey played 50 minutes and scored 21 points.

With Doc Rivers eager to avoid injury to key players, the Clippers played a reserve-heavy lineup throughout, with the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Lou Williams never entering the game. It was the first NBA career start for Coffey, who got the nod alongside Ivica Zubac, Reggie Jackson, Rodney McGruder and JaMychal Green.

The Thunder led 22-21 after the first quarter, but Mann managed to battle for an offensive rebound, and fed it to Jackson, who scored from way behind the 3-point line right before the quarter ended, to finish the opening minutes on a high note.

The second quarter was more of the same, with the Clippers using their bench guys and getting some good moments together, but the Thunder extended the lead, leading 47-37 at halftime, but Coffey hit a shot just before the buzzer to cut the deficit to 10.

From there, LA got to work and using the same group of players, took a 50-49 lead at the 8:48 mark of the third quarter. And then they extended the lead, finishing the quarter ahead 70-63.

But the Clippers started the fourth quarter badly, with sloppy play on both ends of the court letting the Thunder back into the game, as they went ahead again inside the final eight minutes.

The teams traded leads for the rest of the game, with both teams going heavy on the reserves and the Clippers going with their deep bench down the stretch. With the game tied 87-87 in the final minute, Joakim Noah missed the go-ahead attempt in the paint. OKC’s Deonte Burton had the final shot of regulation, but it was off the mark and as the Prime Ticket broadcasters sardonically noted at the buzzer, “regrettably” the game was off to overtime.

The teams traded buckets in bonus basketball, and Mann grabbed a defensive rebound and hit a big 3-pointer in transition with just over two minutes to go. On the next trip down the floor, Patrick Patterson extended the lead, and Mann then hit a clutch pull-up jumper to make it 103-96 with 1:29 left in overtime. The Thunder pulled to within two, but Coffey hit two clutch free throws with 11 seconds remaining to give LA a four-point lead, which they ultimately held onto to win.

It was a weird game, certainly feeling more like a scrimmage than anything, but for a game that didn’t materially mean anything for the Clippers, resting the stars, avoiding injuries and letting the youngsters grind out a win will do them good for their conditioning and confidence moving forward. And hey, it could lead to a few more minutes of playing time in the playoffs for some of them.

The Clippers are now done with the seeding games schedule, and now have the real business of the season to gear up for, as they’ll open their NBA Playoffs slate Monday against the Dallas Mavericks. I think it’s a safe bet the Clippers stars will participate in that game.