In a wire-to-wire win, the Clippers showcase the full extent of their offensive and defensive prowess, against a potential play-in game matchup. Through a multi-faceted contribution by committee, the Clippers beat the Pelicans 119-100.
CJ McCollum led the Pelicans, finishing with 19 points. He was joined by Brandon Ingram, Herb Jones, and Jaxson Hayes as the only Pelicans players scoring 12 or more points. In doing so, however, those three players were held to just 11-for-32 shooting from the field.
Robert Covington, and the Clippers at large, continued their hot shooting from last game. Through the first 18 minutes of the game, Los Angeles shot 10-for-12 from the three-point line.
Per usual, their offense was kickstarted by a stringent defense. In the first half, the Clippers held the Pelicans to just 35.4% shooting from the field, holding Brandon Ingram, a prolific scorer in his own right, to just 1-for-6 shooting, and forced 10 total turnovers from New Orleans as well. The Clippers capitalized on a 13-point New Orleans second quarter and, raced out to a 66-44 halftime lead.
Despite another subpar shooting performance from Paul George, his contributions across other areas were certainly appreciated. As Thunders guard Josh Giddey put it, “the most valuable player is the player that makes the most players valuable”. And with the way his game unlocks that of the entire teams’, George’s value tonight was undeniable.
It was Marcus Morris Sr. who led all scorers tonight, with 22 points. But on a whole, seven of the nine players in the Clippers rotation scored in double-digits. And as a team, they dished 33 assists, grabbed 10 steals, and shot above 47% from three.
Between a blistering offensive performance in the first half, a staunch and unrelenting defense, and improved rebounding, the Clippers were firing on all cylinders tonight. If they keep playing as well as they have been these last two games, this team will be very hard to beat. And they’ll need to do just that, if they hope to survive the play-in and make some noise in the playoffs.
Other noteworthy news: with this win the Clippers have officially clinched the eighth seed. And joined by the Pelicans currently in the play-in seeding, a Clippers loss and a Pelicans win in their first play-in games, respectively, would set up a potential Los Angeles-New Orleans play-in game for the eighth seed.
The Clippers will look to keep building, tomorrow, as they defend home court against the Suns.