Clippers take eighth place showing they can actually beat the Pelicans – The Athletic

LOS ANGELES — The New Orleans Pelicans entered Sunday’s game with a chance to beat the LA Clippers and they arguably had a better roster than the previous three meetings this season. In November, the Pelicans trailed 20 points at home in the first half before holding the Clippers to 26 second-half points in the fifth game in seven days for the Clippers. Later that month, the Pelicans blew out the Clippers again on the second night of a consecutive game for the Clippers. Then the Clippers were blown out in New Orleans in January, a month before the Pelicans traded for CJ McCollum.

But the Clippers never let the Pelicans get comfortable with a 119-100 win that puts LA in eighth place before the start of the Play-In tournament. And as important as it was for the Clippers to start the game offensively, it was perhaps even more important that they defend with a sense of urgency against a team like the Pelicans, who had physically overwhelmed the Clippers in the last three encounters.

The Pelicans still overtook the Clippers by a wide margin (54-41), surpassing them in paint (25-19), second chance points (25-19) and fast break (8-6) while making 13 more free throws. But the first move of the game showed that the Clippers wouldn’t let the Pelicans do what they wanted.

Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas made 14 of 20 3s in three games against the Clippers and added at least 13 rebounds in every game. The last time Valanciunas faced the Clippers in LA, he had 39 points. Clippers take eighth place showing they can actually beat the Pelicans – The Athletic

Jake Nichol

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