NBA

When was the last time the Clippers were in the NBA conference finals?

The Los Angeles Clippers made franchise history with their 4-2 win over the Utah Jazz in the semi-final series of the Western Conference.

When was the last time Clippers were in the NBA Conference finals?
KEVORK DJANSEZIAN AFP

The LA Clippers spectacularly overturned a 25-point deficit against Utah Jazz in Game 6 of the semi-final playoff series to book their place in the Western Conference Final.

The Clippers, who had to play without the influential Kawhi Leonard, trailed the Jazz by 25 points early in the third quarter, before going on a 75-40 rout.

In the absence of Leonard, second-year forward Terance Mann, drafted number 46 overall in the 2019 NBA draft, stepped up by posting a career-high 39 points with seven-from-10 three-pointers – five of those in the second half – in Friday's remarkable 131-119 victory.

Mann, who had never scored more than 25 points in an NBA game, averaged 7.0 points per game this season but was the star of the show in the Clippers' famous win that sets up a Western Conference Final showdown with the second-seeded Phoenix Suns, who enjoyed a 4-0 whitewash of the Denver Nuggets in their semi-final series.

Paul George #13 of the Los Angeles Clippers hugs Terance Mann #14 of the Los Angeles Clippers after he scored a basket against Utah Jazz during the first half in Game Six of the Western Conference second-round playoff series at Staples Center on June 18, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Clippers will play first-ever conference final

The Suns will play in their first conference final since 2010, while for the Clippers this will be their first ever appearance in a conference final.

The Clipper’s historic milestone comes exactly 50 years after the LA franchise’s first NBA season in 1971, and was achieved on the first night that a capacity crowd was permitted at the Staples Center since the start of the pandemic.

"Special. Special. Special," said Patrick Beverley, the longest-tenured Clipper on the roster with four seasons under his belt, after the historic win. "Celebrating just to get in the playoffs, seeing a lot of people come and go, a lot of friends, and to be with an organization like this, to finish a game like this, to make history, is special, man.

“Because I, you know, blood, sweat and tears into this s---, injuries, friends getting traded, ups and downs of basketball -- to be the last man standing and kind of write history is special, man, very special."

Clippers finally break semi-final curse

In their 50-year history, the Clippers had lost seven conference semifinals before the curse was finally broken with victory over the Jazz. Their last three semi-final appearances came in 2012, 2014 and 2015, where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets, respectively.

Now the Los Angeles team that has always played second fiddle to the Lakers is just one series away from another historic milestone: a spot in the NBA Final.