In a gritty on-the-road performance that demonstrated plenty of perseverance, the Los Angeles Clippers overcame a 21-point first-half deficit to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 112-103. The last time the Clippers overcame a deficit of 21 or more points to secure a road win was November 13, 2004 (24-points at the Chicago Bulls).
Here is how it went down.
To be blunt, the Clippers did not start off this contest well. They lacked energy all-around, but most notably on the defensive end of the floor.
The Pelicans jumped out to an 8-0 lead, scoring an early bucket off the tip-off followed by two three-pointers. Clippers were ice cold, going 0-5 from the floor before a floater from Tyrone Wallace put them on the board. Poor shooting would continue throughout the quarter for Los Angeles.
E’Twaun Moore and Jrue Holiday were hot for the Pelicans in the quarter, combining for 16 points. Wallace kept the Clippers from getting completely blown out, scoring 11.
At the end of one, the Clippers trailed by eight, 34-26. For the stat nerds out there, every Clipper who suited up in the quarter was in the minus (+/- stat). It was not pretty.
The Clippers continued their poor play in the first half of the second frame. The Pelicans were abler to extended their lead to 14 and were on a 22-7 scoring run when Doc Rivers called a much-needed time out.
Defensively, the Clippers struggled with slow rotations and close outs. They gave up a lot of buckets in transition and exhibited no hustle whatsoever. Nearly all 50/50 balls were going to New Orleans.
Offensively, the Clippers relied too much on field shooting, and seemed reluctant to go to the hole or feed their big men. Plays like this - although successful - were few and far between:
The Pelicans had racked up a 21-point lead in the second quarter when the Clippers finally began to show some signs of life. At around the 6-minute mark, the Clippers started playing with increased intensity. They ended the half on a 16 to 6 scoring run, reducing the Pelicans’ lead to 11. Score at the half was 62-51 in favor of New Orleans.
Stats at the Half
- Los Angeles shot 41-percent from the field in the first quarter; 56-percent in the second.
- New Orleans shot 56-percent from the field in the first quarter; 58-percent in the second.
- Clippers were 4-16 from beyond the arc. The Pelicans were 7-16.
- Fast break points clearly favored the Pelicans, they scored 17 in transition as compared to the Clippers’ 4.
- Moore (13 points) and Holiday (11 points and 5 assists) led the way for the Pelicans.
- Two-way contract player Wallace had 11 pts on 5-8 shooting, 4 assists and 4 rebounds to lead the Clippers.
- The Clippers’ usual score-leaders – Blake Griffin and Lou Williams – ended the half just 6-20 combined from the field.
The Clippers started the third quarter on a 4-0 run, prompting New Orleans to call a time-out. The 21-point lead the Pelicans had at 4 minutes to play in the second quarter had quickly dwindled to a 7-point lead just 1.5 minutes into the third frame.
Clippers pulled within three after a fast-break basket by DeAndre Jordan, followed by an inbounds steal by Milos Teodosic that led to another Jordan bucket. The first half of that successful sequence is shown here.
The Clippers’ started going to rim more, battling for loose balls and pushing the pace. The increase in intensity paid off; the Pelicans began to implode.
With just under 3 to go in the third quarter, the Clippers took their first lead of the game on a long ball from Williams.
By the completion of the third, the Clippers were on top 80-77. Los Angeles’ defense was essential to the turn-around; they held New Orleans to 18 points in the quarter.
In the final frame, the Clippers continued to control and push the pace.
Montrezl Harrell brought great energy off the bench and was active in the paint. He finished the game with 7 points, 2 rebounds and a block.
The Clippers’ greatest lead was 11, mid-fourth quarter, but the Pelicans stuck around exchanging basket for basket and making some ground off a series of bad Clipper possessions.
A 3-point play by Holiday brought the Clippers lead to 5 points with just under 5 minutes to go in regulation. Griffin answered with a 3-pointer pushing the lead back out to eight, 101-93, and invoking Lawlers’ Law.
New Orleans stayed close until the closing seconds; cutting the lead to 3 with less than a minute left on the game clock. Griffin put any chance of a Pelican comeback to rest, however, converting on another 3-pointer at the 43-second mark, and extending the Clippers’ lead to 6.
Final score: 112-103. The Clippers improve to 25-24 with the win.
Anthony Davis had 15 points for the New Orleans in the second half and led the way in keeping the Pelicans close. Davis would go on to finish the game with 25 points, 17 rebounds and 6 assists.
Five players finished in double figures for the Clippers: Griffin (27); Williams (22); Wallace (19); Teodosic (12) and Jordan (12). Jordan led the squad in rebounds with 19. Griffin was best with assists, finishing with 7. Teodosic (12 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal) and Wesley Johnson (8 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block) had strong all-around performances; their contributions in recent games can’t be overlooked.
Full game stats and highlights:
Final— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 28, 2018
Blake’s the Capitan Now. Despite finishing the first quarter with 2 points on 1 for 7 shooting, Blake Griffin was terrific in this contest. Griffin was particularly good in the 2nd half; 18 of his 27 points were scored in the final 24 minutes. Griffin was 4-6 from beyond the arc; achieving a career high in 3-pointers in a single game.
27p/12r/7a/1s | @blakegriffin32 scores 18 of his game-high 27 points in the second half, including a couple huge 3-pointers.— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 29, 2018
Griffin also contributed 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 steal, demonstrating his strength as an all-around threat and embracing the leadership role the Clippers need him to take on as the playoffs draw near.
Lou Williams is an All-Star. I really don’t care that Lou Williams won’t be on the Staples Center floor next Sunday. Williams is a NBA All-Star, without question. The professional scorer had 22 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in today’s outing.
Tyrone Wallace Belongs in the NBA. Two-way contract player Ty Wallace continues to impress on both ends of the floor. He had 19 points on 6 for 12 shooting – including shooting a perfect 7 for 7 from the line. Wallace also had 6 rebounds and 6 assists in 32 minutes for the Clippers.
The Clippers host the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, January 30, at 7:30 PM.