The Los Angeles Clippers withstood the return of Doc Rivers and a quick Philadelphia 76ers start, but pulled ahead over the final three quarters to defeat the Sixers 122-112 Saturday evening in Staples Center.
With Lou Williams being traded away there’s a top bench scorer option role open on the Clippers’ squad, and Terance Mann continued his recent surge in this game, scoring a season-high 23 points in the victory, in a good team victory for LA.
Ty Lue went with his recent “new look” starting five on the night, of Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac, Paul George and Reggie Jackson.
The Sixers got off to a hot start and their shots were falling early. But Jackson helped provide a boost in the 1st quarter with Philadelphia starting to pull ahead, and the guard hit a couple baskets to keep the game close. In the end, they finished with the Sixers ahead by a point 30-29, in a 1st quarter that was a track meet on the court.
The 2nd quarter was more of the same, with Terance Mann finding his shot, as the Clippers wing hit his first six shots of the night to keep LA tied or just a few points back of the 76ers.
Leonard hit back-to-back baskets in the last couple minutes before the half to give the home side a lead, which they kept going into the locker room, up 65-60. Kawhi Leonard led all scorers at halftime with 19, while Terance Mann was second on the Clippers with 13 and Tobias Harris led Philly with 17.
The Clippers opened up the game to start the 3rd quarter, building a 12-point lead inside of the first couple minutes.
Midway through the 3rd, Morris and Dwight Howard tangled up under the Philly basket and Morris was assessed a flagrant 1 foul on the play, since it was rough but didn’t look to be seeking to hurt the Sixers big man.
But the Clippers maintained their momentum, and held the Sixers at arm’s length throughout the 3rd quarter, finishing with a 97-84 lead, and looking fairly comfortable, too.
Mann continued his hot night, hitting his first eight shots on the game, and a technical foul in the 4th quarter for Howard led to the Sixers center being ejected for the second game in a row, and second in a row at Staples Center.
Lue was able to rest his stars late in the game and the Clippers reserve unit kept the lead intact to the end, with even rookie Daniel Oturu seeing some playing time. In the end, Leonard tallied 28 points, George had 24 to go with Mann’s 23.
LA’s next game is scheduled for Monday evening against the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center. The Bucks won the teams’ first meeting this season, so the Clippers will aim to even up the season series. Given the teams’ ambitions, this should be another good game.