The Clippers, who were held to double digits in scoring for the second game in a row (the only other time this happened this season was on Oct. 29), fell to the Pelicans 113-89.
The Clippers shooting woes continued from last game, as they got out to a 13-2 deficit in the first five minutes of the game. In that stretch, the Clippers shot just 1-of-11 from the field and 0-of-6 from distance; the Pelicans, who came out the gate ready to fly, shot 5-of-10 from the field and 2-of-3 from deep.
And part of that must be accredited to the Pelicans defense, led by Herb Jones and Jose Alvarado’s anticipation, energy, and aggression. Alvarado, who finished with nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals (as well as an uncountable amount of effort), and Jones, who finished with a game high plus-29, were joined by an aggressive and efficient Brandon Ingram on the offensive end.
Once again, however, the Clippers defense kept Los Angeles in the game despite a faltering offense. While the 13-point deficit that the Clippers carried into the second quarter was far from ideal, for a team that only scored 15 points in the first quarter, it certainly could have been worse.
Unfortunately, that didn’t necessarily mean that it would get better. And in the rest of the first half, which saw the Clippers shoot just 26 percent from the field against an admittedly suffocating Pelicans defense, it was simply more of the same. The Clippers first-quarter and first-half totals were the lowest that they registered in any contest this season.
Eric Bledsoe, who was greeted to a hearty round of boos every time he touched the ball, responded with one of his most limited performances in recent memory, registering just three points and two assists in nine minutes, tonight. And unfortunately for the Clippers, Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris Sr. were unable to get going, as they must in the prolonged absence of Paul George, either. They finished with 2-of-11 and 3-of-14 shooting from the field (and 1-of-6 and 1-of-9 shooting from three), respectively. Perhaps they simply are missing the contributions of Luke Kennard, Kawhi Leonard, and George a little extra tonight. But regardless, Ty Lue and the Clippers have their work cut out for them after a frustrating loss.
When the Clippers’ intensity finally picked up at the beginning of the fourth — which led to a 7-0 Clippers run — it simply was too late to build enough momentum to effectively swing the game. And the Pelicans, who dished out 23 assists to just six turnovers, did not make enough mistakes for the Clippers to be able to shoot as poorly as they did, and still hope to win, tonight.
The silver lining of the night was Xavier Moon, who checked in in the fourth quarter and immediately brought a contagious energy to the floor for the Clippers. He, Brandon Boston Jr., and Terance Mann were the only Clippers with a positive plus-minus tonight.