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Easy Like a Sunday Blowout: Clippers beat Pelicans, 134-109

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Montrezl Harrell matches his career high as the Clippers cruise past the Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Summary

Both teams came out shooting well to start the game, but the Clippers eventually pulled ahead and ended the quarter with 40 points and up by 13. Although this 13 point margin would eventually expand to 27 at one point, it was basically the average gap throughout the game. Even better, the Clippers led from the middle of the first quarter on.

The Clippers, surprisingly, took the same number of shots as the Pelicans and only made three more field goals. The difference was at the free throw line, where the Clippers took 33 and made 26, while the Pelicans went 10/18. What I was most impressed with, however, was the lack of turnovers: The Clippers only had six turnovers — a major correction to what has been a huge issue all season (they are 24th in turnovers per game, averaging 16.7). Finally, the last element of their offensive dominance was their three points shooting. They were 16/43 (37.2%), seven of which came in the first quarter alone.

Individually, Montrezl Harrell was the story of the night. As Ivica Zubac struggled with foul trouble all game, Harrell got the lion’s share of center minutes — and he took advantage. He had a career high-matching 34 points, along with 12 rebounds and two blocks. He was 13/18 from the field and 8/10 from the line, including a few and-one opportunities. Kawhi Leonard (26 points), Lou Williams (19), and Paul George (18, including six three pointers) accounted for most of the remaining points.

Although the Pelicans had a few bright spots, all but two of their players posted a negative +/-. Jrue Holiday and E’Twan Moore got loose a few times and threatened to make it a game towards the end of the third. Ingram put up 24 points, but it took him 22 shots to do it, and he never seemed like an existential issue for the Clippers defensively.

Notes

  • Finally, another blowout: The Clippers started this home stretch with a 150-101 win against the Hawks, but they then went on to win three games by two, three, and three points respectively. Going into a quick road trip, the Clippers needed a stress-less game to save their legs and mental energy.
  • Montrezl Harrell: According the Clippers PR, he is the “fourth player in NBA history to have 34+ points, 12+ rebounds and 2+ blocks off the bench.”