By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The New Orleans Pelicans stunned the Los Angeles Clippers and broke their four-game winning streak, 117-106, in the ongoing NBA regular season last February 8, 2024.
After man-handling the Toronto Raptors during their last outing, the Pelicans picked up where they left off and outdueled the powerhouse Clippers squad on their home floor.
New Orleans pulled off a consistent brand of basketball and never trailed from the get-go despite losing star center Jonas Valanciunas in the second half.
The Pelicans had a hard time stopping Los Angeles’ paint production after Valanciunas injured his calf in the third quarter but the trio of CJ McCollum, Zion Williamson, and Brandon Ingram answered the call and provided New Orleans the much-needed scoring spark.
It was all New Orleans in the first half as their hot-shooting and tremendous perimeter defense propelled them to an early double-digit advantage.
Although the Clippers were able to cut it to eight points heading into the second half, the Pelicans stuck to their game plan and executed their crisp ball movement which led to several wide-open three-pointers.
When the Clippers made a run at the start of the fourth, McCollum stepped up for the Pelicans and scored 11 points in just nine minutes.
Backstopping McCollum during New Orleans’ fourth-quarter breakaway was Williamson who dominated the paint when the Clippers opted to play a small-ball lineup.
Los Angeles then waived the white flag with still three minutes left in the ball game after head coach Tyrone Lue pulled out all of his starters.
McCollum top-scored for the Pelicans with 25 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and a steal while Williamson added 21 markers, 10 dimes, three rebounds, and three blocks.
Aside from their balanced scoring performance, the Pelicans also owned the defensive department after collecting a total of 13 steals and five blocks.
New Orleans also out-assisted Los Angeles, 30-23, and scored more points in the break with 20 compared to the Clippers’ 10.
The Pelicans will look to continue their winning streak on February 10, 2024, as they face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
On the other hand, the Clippers will aim to re-enter the NBA winning column against the Detroit Pistons on February 11, 2024.