It appeared that the LA Clippers were going to catch a break Wednesday night in New Orleans. PG Chris Paul got the start after a three-game absence due to a hamstring injury, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry was ejected by Lauren Holtkamp, and the Clippers had a 9-point lead with 90 seconds left in the 3rd quarter. But ultimately, the Clippers dropped another game to yet another team under .500, losing 102-98 to the Pelicans. The Clippers were outscored in the 4th quarter for the 7th time in the last 8 games and have now lost 4 in a row for the first time since February 2015.
Top Performer: The Pelicans started Anthony Davis at center, and he led New Orleans with a game-high 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field. Davis struggled in the 1st half, scoring only 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field. But he bounced back to score a game-high 14 points on 6-of-9 from the field after halftime.
X-Factor: As the game went on, New Orleans got better shots. The Pelicans only made 39.1 percent from the field in the 1st quarter, but that number jumped to 45.8 percent in the 2nd. The Pelicans improved to make 10-of-20 FGs (50.0 percent) in each of the final 2 quarters of the game, finishing at 46.0 percent for the game. On the flipside, Clippers C DeAndre Jordan made 4-of-5 FGs in the 1st quarter, but only took one more shot the rest of the game. Jordan didn’t get a single attempt from the field in the 2nd half.
The last time DeAndre Jordan attempted 10+ shots was against the Pelicans this month. LA is 5-4 since then. Will a trip to NO rejuvenate DJ?
— ClipperBlog (@clipperblog) December 28, 2016
Major Moment: The Clippers were up 77-68 with 1:35 left to play in the 3rd quarter. From that point on, the Pelicans closed the game out on a 34-21 run, with Davis and backup SF Tyreke Evans dropping 10 points each in the last 13:30 of the game. Once again, LA had more turnovers (4) than assists (3) to close a game out while making only 9-of-27 from the field (33.3 percent).
Key Lineup: The lineup New Orleans had on the floor for just under 2 minutes to close out the 3rd quarter on a 8-0 run flipped the game in favor of the Pelicans: Evans, SG Langston Galloway, Terrence Jones, PF Dante Cunningham, and Davis. That group got Davis back on track and ignited Evans to attack. Then the Clippers started the 4th quarter with a lineup of SG Austin Rivers (starting for J.J. Redick due to Redick’s hamstring injury) with Raymond Felton, Jamal Crawford, Brandon Bass, and Marreese Speights. That lineup was destroyed in just under 3 minutes, compiling a -92.8 net rating. The Clippers never led again after that lineup was on the floor.
The Definition: Well, the Clippers had a nice schedule this past week with 4 straight sub-.500 teams, 3 of them at STAPLES Center. Despite leading in all of those games, LA lost all of them.
“I think if you look at every game at some point in the 4th quarter we were winning and were right there, so I think we have to be better in the 4th quarter,” said Crawford after the game.
“We have to be a better 4th quarter team, that’s all I can say,” Austin Rivers added. “We didn’t turn the ball over a lot tonight, it wasn’t any of that; we just didn’t play well in the 4th quarter.”
The Clippers are limping to the end of 2016, and everyone knows it – including Pierre The Pelican:
— Pierre The Pelican (@PierreTPelican) December 29, 2016