Terance Mann lasted until the No. 48 pick in the 2019 NBA draft. He averaged just 7.0 points per game this season. He got pulled from the rotation earlier in the Clippers-Jazz series.
Who would have thought that of the players the Clippers acquired in 2019 – when they signed Kawhi Leonard and traded for Paul George – Mann would come up biggest on this stage? Heck, Mann wasn’t even L.A.’s highest-drafted rookie that year.
Nobody who averaged so few points per game in the regular season had ever scored so many points in a playoff game.
Here are the lowest regular-season scoring averages among the the 1,226 times someone scored at least 35 points in a playoff game:
Mann’s lack of scoring pedigree induced his breakout performance. The Jazz nominally defended the wing with center Rudy Gobert, who camped out near the basket. Mann capitalized by shooting 7-for-10 on 3-pointers.
As usual, Mann also attacked in transition and crashed the offensive glass. He was just especially successful, shooting 8-for-11 on 2-pointers, including this awesome putback dunk:
Mann tried to look hard after the slam. But as his teammates kept bumping him in celebration, he cracked a wide grin.
That’s what stands out most about his night – besides the raw total of 39 points, of course. He just looked so happy while playing. Jaded by high expectation of always playing well, stars tend to appear more level (or even brooding) during their big games.
For Mann, this was just joy.