Maybe we expected more from third-year player Terance Mann this year. He did convert on seven three-pointers and dropped 39 points in a game that sent the Clippers to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history, after all.
Nearing the end of the season, he hasn’t been quite the 39-point dropping juggernaut he was in game six against the Utah Jazz. He, however, has been key to this injury-stricken Clipper team.
That doesn’t necessarily he’s been dominant all throughout the year, though. To the surprise of many, it was fellow third-year Clipper Amir Coffey that made a bigger impact for the team. Coffey, midway through the season, found himself in the starting lineup, where he proved himself as a capable scorer both inside and behind the three-point line. He started 15 of 17 games in January, averaging nearly 14 points on 42 percent shooting from long range.
The crafty left-handed shooter, therefore, seemed a better option than Mann, who barely shot over 30 percent from deep. Not to mention, Mann had moments where he was sloppy with the ball or, even worse, threw up a last-second contested shot due to his lack of awareness of the shot clock.
Regardless, he has been a big part of this team: he played all but one game for the 213 this season. And despite his momentary struggles, Mann slowly but surely found his rhythm and started to give the Clippers a boost off the bench.
With a bigger frame, Mann can do more than most other wings in the league. He can penetrate for emphatic finishes around the rack, catch offensive boards, and muscle his way up to the rim for a bucket. Don’t forget he can also drain three-pointers regularly — he’s a ‘shooting’ guard, after all.
And it’s when Mann is near the rim that the team plays at its best. His high-percentage looks in the paint have been one of the most effective ways that the Clippers cut leads and brought momentum over to their side. From a more strategic standpoint, when you have an athletic guard bodying players in the paint, it opens up better looks for his teammates, whether it’d be a crafty pass for an Ivica Zubac flush or a kickout for a Luke Kennard three. Just as important, his plays — and subsequent celebrations — bring much-needed energy on the court.
Even in a saddening losing streak, Mann’s plays are continuing to bring hope and energy for the Clippers. The Florida State graduate, in the last four games, is putting up an impressive 18 points per contest on 46 percent shooting.
Maybe they’ll need more from him as Mann and the Clippers will try to snap out of a four-game slide with a win against a talented Philadelphia team this Friday.
When: Friday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m. PT
Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
How to watch/listen: Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 ESPN
Opposing perspective: Liberty Ballers
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Amir Coffey, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac
76ers: Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid
Clippers: Robert Covington — QUESTIONABLE; Norman Powell, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston, Jay Scrubb — OUT
76ers: Charles Bassey, Myles Powell, Jaden Springer — OUT
This post will serve as the game thread. Enjoy the game, and comment below.