So many things went wrong for the Clippers as they faced the Pelicans on Saturday. Let’s begin with Clippers star Kawhi Leonard being elbowed in the face by Pelican’s Brandon Ingram during the third quarter. Leonard did not return to play after suffering a facial contusion. This is not good news, as Paul George remains out with a sprained right knee.
The loss puts the Clippers in fifth place in the West Conference, 39-36. The next four opponents are tough – the Bulls, Grizzlies, Pelicans in New Orleans, and the Lakers.
Bones Hyland was the night’s leader for the Clippers with 18 points and seven assists, Eric Gordon contributed 15 points, Russell Westbrooks – 14 points, and five assists, Nicolas Batum and Ivica Zubac each had 13 points, and Leonard finished with12 points. While the team missed Leonard and George, these numbers tell the night’s story; the Clippers were outrebounded 45-31, turned the ball over 20 times, and gave up 54 points in the paint.
“Tonight, was a tough night,” Head coach Tyronn Lue said. When both of them were off (George and Leonard) and when you play against a team that’s pretty good, you struggle.”
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The Pelicans shot a whopping 21 3-pointers on the night, and four players had at least three triples; Brandon Ingram had 32 points, three 3-pointers, and 13 assists; Trey Murphy III, 32 points, ten 3-pointers, and 11-14 FG, CJ McCollum, 21 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds, and Josh Richardson contributing 13points. Ingram and Murphy combined for 13 3-pointers. This Pelican win happened without the assistance of Zion Williamson, who is out with a hamstring injury.
The Pelicans never trailed during the game. The win puts New Orleans in ninth place in the West. They have beaten the Clippers in eight of their last nine meetings.
“Our execution was off the charts,” New Orleans head coach Willie Green said.
Ingram joined coach Green in praise of Trey Murphy’s play:
“I just see his confidence going up and up,” Ingram said. “He’s the best shooter on the team.”
“I felt like he was going to shoot no matter who was in front of him, so I just wanted to keep feeding him the ball,” Ingram said of Murphy. “It just makes our team tougher to stop when he’s a threat on the floor.”
The Clippers host the Chicago Bulls on Monday at the Crypto.com Arena.