The Clippers stomped the Pelicans in a 126-103 win during their second game of the Disney World restart, and posted a franchise record in 3-pointers along the way. The Pelicans looked overwhelmed from tip-off, falling behind 12-2 before their first timeout and finding themselves down 77-45 at halftime.
A franchise-record 16 first-half 3-pointers did most of the early damage for Los Angeles, which came one short of the NBA record for a half.
Clippers’ 3-point shooting in the first-half, via ESPN. pic.twitter.com/GJa2AoNkfi— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) August 1, 2020
Here’s how lopsided the half was:
Clippers 3PT: 16-24— Justin Phan (@jphanned) August 1, 2020
Pelicans FG: 16-43
Zion Williamson’s minutes still limited
Just like in the Pelicans’ bubble-opening loss to the Utah Jazz, star rookie Zion Williamson played with a minutes limit. Pelicans executive David Griffin had indicated Williamson would be limited for at least the team’s first two games, citing the need to ramp up after Williamson’s exit from the bubble last week.
Williamson’s minutes might have also been suppressed by apparent ankle injury. After turning his ankle midway through the second quarter, Williamson did not appear again until the second half.
Looks like Zion turned his ankle. Doesn't seem serious. pic.twitter.com/Q4nBCT0FdR— gifdsports (@gifdsports) August 1, 2020
More minutes for Zion probably wasn’t going to cause a big point reversal, but the Pelicans’ refusal to play him in crunch time during their last game coupled with how much they were embarrassed by the Clippers has to leave you wondering what exactly they’re doing in Orlando.
Pelicans probably won’t make the playoffs
As 22 teams entered the restart, it wasn’t hard to see the Pelicans’ path to the playoffs. They were three games behind the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies with eight games to play, but only needed to capture ninth place and stay within four games of eighth place to force a play-in series.
The math has significantly changed since then, thanks to the Pelicans’ losses.
The Pelicans now find themselves four games back from the Grizzlies with six to play, and have both the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers between them and ninth place. It’s hard to see the Pelicans reaching the postseason without winning out, and Saturday’s game made clear that will be a tall order for a team that might be prioritizing Williamson’s outlook for next year over a shot at the Lakers in the first round.
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