Looking to end a five game homestand on a high note, the Los Angeles Clippers welcomed a gritty young News Orleans Pelicans team to Staples Center.
Los Angeles saw five players finish in double figures, but none more impactful than forward Montrezl Harrell, who tied a career high with 34 points and 12 rebounds, propelling the Clippers to a dominating 134-109 win over the Pelicans on Sunday night.
“They are starting to see Montrez is good. He can score a lot of different ways and it seems like each year he is adding more to his game,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “He went left a couple times tonight when the scouting report is to not have him go right.”
The Clippers (12-5) picked up its fifth consecutive win and clinched a franchise best 11-1 record at home. Los Angeles came in winning its last three games by a slim margin of eight points combined, showcasing the team is already learning how to win in different ways.
“Everybody has different jobs and have jobs they don’t want to do, but they do it,” said Harrell, who recorded his fifth 30-point game of his career. “To come out here, lace up my shoes, play the game of basketball, and call it a job is a huge outlet and just a blessing.”
L.A. outrebounded New Orleans (65-57) and shot 47 percent from the field, while the Pelicans (6-11) were held to 31 percent from long distance.
Kawhi Leonard scored 24 points, Lou Williams added 19 and Paul George had 18 on a balanced offensive night for L.A. Patrick Beverly rounded out double-figure scorers for the Clippers with 10, seven rebounds and four assists.
“When we play at our pace, I think offensively we are really good,” said Rivers.
Fourth year forward and former Los Angeles Laker Brandon Ingram, led New Orleans with 24 points and eight rebounds in his first game back at Staples Center since being traded in the blockbuster deal for Anthony Davis.
Jrue Holiday had 18 and E’Twaun Moore added 17 off the bench in 21 minutes of play.
Los Angeles led by as many as 27 points throughout the game and only looked to build on it. George made a three-pointer, followed by a Harrell basket to give the Clippers a 72-56 advantage at halftime.
“There have been a couple times where we’ve been down and try to fight back and it has been a little too hard with the deficits. I feel like that has been the standard so far,” Holliday said.
In the third, rookie center Jaxson Hayes’ capped a 24-14 run for New Orleans and cut the Pelicans deficit to six, 86-80 with 4:53 remaining in the quarter.
“They cut it to six and we got it right back up. I thought our guys got back to playing,” Rivers said on the resiliency to stay composed while New Orleans was threatening.
Los Angeles then responded with an 11-2 run, to give the Clippers back a 15-point margin and the Pelicans would not come closer.
Leonard made two free throws in the fourth, followed by back-to-back scores from Harrell and the Clippers went on to route the Pelicans 134-109.
Los Angeles next travels to face the Dallas Mavericks (11-5) on Tuesday night to begin a three-game road trip. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 PM.