Pelicans, Clippers clash after lopsided victories

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·3 min read
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The Los Angeles Clippers are coming off a dominant victory.

So are the New Orleans Pelicans.

Those teams meet Sunday night in New Orleans hoping that their most recent performances are a sign that they have put recent low-scoring efforts behind them.

The Clippers lost their three games before the All-Star Break before returning with a 130-104 home victory against Golden State on Thursday.

Serge Ibaka had 16 points and 14 rebounds in 23 minutes, Kawhi Leonard scored 28 and Paul George added 17. Coach Tyronn Lue rested his starters in the fourth quarter, which was helpful with a three-game road trip looming.

"After the last game before the All-Star break, the way we end up the road trip, it was not the right way," Ibaka said of a 119-117 loss at Washington. "And then personally, things didn't go my way.

"So to me it was important to come be there for my teammates, and set the tone. And just to let them know, like, 'Listen, whatever happened in the last game, it's not who we are.'"

L.A. held the Warriors to 17 points in the second quarter.

"If we can hold a team to 17 points I feel like we're going to win every game," Leonard said.

Golden State's 43 first-half points marked a season low in the first two periods by a Clippers opponent and were fewer than L.A. scored in the third quarter alone (45) as the Clippers built a 104-68 lead after three quarters.

"We've just got to keep improving," Leonard said. "We're not where we want to be."

Every Clipper who suited up played, but Patrick Beverley left for good after 11 minutes because of knee soreness and it's unclear if he'll make the road trip.

Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy also had the luxury of emptying his bench in a 116-82 home victory against Cleveland on Friday.

"Those kinds of games are feel-good games for teams when everybody plays," Van Gundy said. "It's a fun night for a team when everyone gets in the game, gets to play, and gets to be a part of it."

New Orleans needed a game like that in the wake of its loss Thursday night. The Pelicans had a 16-point lead in the first quarter then got outscored by 46 the rest of the way in a 135-105 home loss to Minnesota.

"My approach was just to make sure I brought everybody with me tonight, going in with intensity, a sense of urgency on the offensive and defensive end, just communicating and doing whatever I can to affect the offense and defense without forcing it and doing it the right way," said Brandon Ingram, who had a game-high 28 points against the Cavaliers.

New Orleans had a 70-33 edge in rebounding, grabbing the most rebounds in a non-overtime game in franchise history.

The Pelicans held the Cavaliers to season lows in quarter scoring (nine points in the third) and field-goal percentage (34.1).

"The energy in the room was good," Ingram said. "We knew exactly what we wanted to do. We played loose. We played free. Everybody got to their strengths on the basketball floor and we continued to do it.

"We knew in the third quarter that we had to make a huge push so we can keep the momentum in the game, and that's what we did."

--Field Level Media