Phoenix Suns: 3 Los Angeles Clippers Still Crucial to Shut Down

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns cannot let Terance Mann’s cinderella story continue

As perhaps the most surprising star to emerge from these playoffs, Terance Mann made himself a household name for families living out west after dropping 39 points during Game 6 to knock out the Jazz, even going 7-10 from deep while doing so. But as a second year player, the Suns likely know very little about former Florida State Seminole.

This recent emergence though combined with his apparent knack for delivering big-time playoff performances makes him an opponent for the Suns not to take so lightly. Collectively, Mann has been shooting 51.7 percent from three during the postseason, making him another threat to quickly cut into any leads established by the Suns given their paint-based offense.

Also weighing 215 pounds, Mann possesses some muscle unaccustomed to typical shooting guards. This includes Devin Booker, who if Mann attacks physically, might struggle while  defending him.

Mann also excels where George’s struggles the most—during close game situations. Shooting 66.7 percent from the field, Mann leads his team this postseason in clutch field goal percentage with the sidelined Leonard unaccounted for. He too possesses the best clutch minutes to points ratio by all Clippers, averaging 0.857 points per minute.

This stems from a smaller sample size, but still deserves some attention. At this point, Utah’s 22-point halftime lead during Game 6 feels easily forgettable, and rightfully so. But it was Mann who stared the deficit right in its face, and then acted, scoring 20 of his 39 points during the third quarter. That timely scoring outburst falls outside the “clutch” scenario’s statistical definition, but it most certainly meets its criteria from a pure basketball standpoint.

With all this considered, no lead should feel safe with Mann playing. For this reason, Phoenix needs to slow him down, especially if the Suns own lead and start to feel the Clippers building momentum.