New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Clippers
MVP: This game was the third meeting between the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Clippers. The Pelicans have started a different point guard in each meeting: Jrue Holiday in December, Tyreke Evans in January, and now Norris Cole today in March. Paul took advantage of the matchup, leading the Clippers with 23 points, 4 steals and 11 more assists, and he also added 7 rebounds in a team-high 38 minutes. Cole was swallowed up for a game-high six turnovers, and he fouled out in only 26 minutes.
That was … voluminous: If the Clippers won by efficiency Friday night, they won by sheer volume on Sunday. The Pelicans came out scorching hot, making 12 of 17 first quarter field goals (71 percent) and 12 of 22 threes for the game (55 percent). Anthony Davis made 11 of 13 field goals, a career-high 85 percent clip in games he played more than 10 minutes. But the Clippers had one more rebound and eight fewer turnovers, and that was a factor in the Clippers having 16 more field goal attempts and 7 more free throw attempts. New Orleans collapsed under the weight of L.A.’s starting five all finishing in double figures, with Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Redick all getting at least 20.
X factor: We’re officially at the best stretch of Redick’s career. The starting shooting guard of the Clippers has now scored 20 points or more for the fourth straight game, the first time he has done that in his career. Redick didn’t have a fast start, making only 2-of-6 field goals in the first half, but he led the Clippers with 15 second-half points to close out the Pelicans.
— Law Murray
Tweets Of The Game
The Clippers now have the 2nd best point differential in the league
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) March 22, 2015
The Clippers showed this during the "Bloopers" segment after the first quarter. Plenty of boos. pic.twitter.com/VEo23zuG0o
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) March 22, 2015
Clarification on Crawford – not technically a bone bruise- the muscle bruise is just extremely deep. Blood drain happened in last 10 days
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) March 22, 2015
Check Your Messages
Somebody Save Spencer
“There was five seconds left on the clock and he passed up a wide open shot,” Mike Smith stressed as only Mike Smith can. It was Spencer Hawes at the center of Smith’s lament. Once again, Hawes, shooting a grizzly 32.1 percent from deep on the season, passed up an open look. Languishing in the distinct awareness of his struggles, Hawes has struggled to emerge from the depths of his poor form since arriving in L.A. Obviously unable to save himself, is there anyone out there that can?
Clearly, Doc Rivers has lost all confidence in the big man, who has played no more than 16 minutes since Blake Griffin returned from injury. He’s all but given up on the guy he gave $23 million last summer. Is Hawes Dudley 2.0? Without Crawford the second unit hasn’t looked to him more — if anything they’ve completely forgotten he’s even on the court. Today, Hawes was ignored more than once when he had a mismatch with Norris Cole down low. On the one time he was targeted, it was an errant pass and Hawes was awarded the turnover.
He’s frustrated. Doc is frustrated. His teammates are frustrated. With the playoffs around the corner, do the Clippers try and help him get his groove back? Or is it too little too late?
– Roscoe Whalan
This game had a few fun sequences for the Clippers – and, in turn, more than a few regrettable ones for the Pelicans.
The one I’ll highlight here took place early in the first quarter. The Pelicans got out to a 15-5 lead, refusing to miss from the field. Redick hop-stepped into a jumper, but he was met by a blocking Anthony Davis, igniting a fastbreak with the ball in Cole’s hands.
Now, right when Cole approached midcourt, he checked to see if he had anyone filling the lanes. By time he turned his head back around, Chris Paul – the only defender in front of Cole – had stabbed the ball away from Cole. Paul turned the theft into his own fastbreak, as the momentum of the loose ball left three Pelicans trailing Paul as he advanced back into the attacking zone. Paul had Redick flying to the left corner and Griffin running behind. Paul left a pass behind his back for Griffin to collect and finger roll in for two points.
Six minutes later, the Pelicans lost their big lead, and they ended the game with 18 turnovers. There were many runs in this game, but Paul literally stole momentum from the Pelicans on that play, perhaps containing an opportunity for the opposition to run away with the game.
– Law Murray