Clippers’ Terance Mann can step up in Patrick Beverley’s absence – Press-Enterprise


LOS ANGELES — The news of Patrick Beverley’s broken left hand is unequivocally a big-league bummer for the Clippers.

Their longest-tenured player and emotional leader will be out weeks after undergoing surgery Friday to repair fractured fourth metacarpal bone, an injury he sustained just a couple days after returning from a 12-game absence that the Clippers chalked up to knee soreness, the same designation that forced the hyper-active guard to sit for eight games in a row earlier in the season.

“It’s sad, kind of sucks,” said Terance Mann, the Clippers’ second-year wing after Friday’s yo-yo victory over Houston. “He just got back, can’t really catch a break right now.”

Clippers Coach Tyronn Lue shared similar sentiments: “It’s just tough because Pat is such a hard worker, did all the right things to come back and get back to play, to get back to action, and for this to happen the second game back, it’s just tough to see.”

But Lue, in his first foray as the Clippers’ head coach, was buoyed by the notion that not all is lost without Beverley. His team’s depth already has, for the most part, withstood its share of discontinuity.

Lue has had to use 18 starting lineups this compact season, and had players miss a combined 87 games due to injuries, but still L.A. enters Sunday’s evening tilt against Detroit with twice as many wins as losses, at 36-18, and stationed in third in the Western Conference standings.

The Clippers are embedded snugly among a quartet of teams at the top that are hot heading into the backstretch of the regular season, all of them 8-2 or better in their past 10 games.

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“Just gotta have a next-man-up mentality,” said Lue, employing perhaps the NBA’s most popular cliché – ascribable literally, though, in the Clippers’ case.

Beverley’s absences have created an opening for Mann, the second-year wing who has, indeed, stepped up.

The former Florida State standout has appeared in 51 games, already 10 more than he did as a rookie. He’s doubled or tripled his production in just about every statistical way, including averaging 6.2 points and 3.7 rebounds in 18 minutes per game – 10 more than he played on average last season.

He’s shooting 50.2% from the floor and 40.0% from 3-point range. And those averages have trended upward in the 16 games since the All-Star break, when Mann has shot 52.5% overall and 42.4% from deep, percentages that have equated to 9.8 points per game in that span.

Moreover, Mann is proving a disruptive defensive force, his will on that end of the court echoing Beverley’s, with his stature – a gangly 6 feet, 5 inches – standing up to the challenge of guarding offensive stars ranging from Chicago’s Zach LaVine to Portland’s Damian Lillard.

“I’ll tell you this, with the guys being injured and guys being out of the lineup, these young guys have really taken advantage of it,” Lue said. “Terance Mann, Luke Kennard, even Amir Coffey when he’s had the opportunity to play. And they’re gonna have the experience in case something happens down the road.”

Mann’s emergence – or his minutes, certainly – appeared they would be tempered, though, by Beverley’s availability.

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The veteran guard played only three games (and just 38 minutes, after leaving two of those contests prematurely) since the All-Star break, and his return created a logjam in the backcourt, one that seemed would chop significantly into Mann’s minutes.

In the Clippers’ victory over Portland on April 6, Mann played fewer than 10 minutes, and then just five minutes two nights later against Phoenix. In those games, he took and missed one shot and finished without a rebound and with just a single assist.

But on Friday, facilitated by the injury to Beverley and the Clippers wanting to proceed cautiously with Rajon Rondo (adductor soreness), Mann’s responsibilities grew again. He played 36 minutes, the second most this season.

And so, in addition to Kawhi Leonard’s 31 points and Reggie Jackson’s 26, Mann was a major factor in a wild 126-109 victory. With his mom among the 50 spectators allowed into Staples Center to watch, Mann put his head down and went back on the attack, making 7 of his 8 field-goal attempts, including both of his 3-point tries, for 16 points. He also had two steals, a block and a career-high tying nine assists.





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