FADING FAST: Pelicans Drop 3rd Straight in Loss to Clippers


Today’s visit to the Staples Center in Los Angeles marked the end of a three-game road trip against Western Conference playoff contenders for the New Orleans Pelicans.

The trip has been particularly devastating, with the Pelicans adding equally to their injury list and loss column. The timing could not be any worse, with the team involved in a 3-way race for the 8-seed.

And then, to add insult to injury, was today’s performance against the playoff-bound L.A. Clippers.

The Pelicans will now return to New Orleans on a three-game losing streak, after falling 107-100 to the Los Angeles Clippers in a Sunday afternoon NBA clash.

More from Big Easy Believer

New Orleans started Cole-Poindexter-Cunningham-Davis-Ajinca. Tyreke Evans and Omer Asik both sat out to rest sprained ankles. Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holliday continue in their extended absence. Eric Gordon was brought off the bench after showing up late to a team meeting.

Despite the depleted roster, the Pelicans started the game in good form. They shot 9/10 on their way to an early double-digit lead. Anthony Davis, returning from an ankle sprain of his own, was his typical dominant self, posting 9 PTS (4/4 FG) 4 REB 1 AST 1 STL 1 BLK.

The Clippers battled back from the deficit, capitalizing on a large offensive rebound differential, and 4 Pelicans turnovers. Both of those stats factored into an 8-attempt advantage for the Clippers in the first quarter. The Pelicans narrowly led going into the second, 28-27.

Mar 22, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) tries to block a shot by New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the first quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers opened up a small the in the second, but the Pelicans rolled back with a 10 pt run to end the half, gaining a 53-50 lead. New Orleans was scorching hot offensively, shooting 58% on field goals and 7/11 on 3’s.

Chris Paul lived up to his elite defensive reputation, torturing the Pelicans backcourt all night.

He swiped 4 steals and forced terrible passes on almost every possession. Deandre Jordan was a terror in the first half too, pulling down 10 REB including 4 OREB.

The Pelicans depth issues started to show in the second half, as the Clippers controlled the game with small leads. New Orleans often narrowed the margin or tied, but could not maintain any kind of sustained lead.

With 2:37 the Clippers extended the lead out to 10. The Pelicans attempted to close the gap, but couldn’t get any friction gathered offensively.

More from New Orleans Pelicans

Eric Gordon shook off any issues from the benching with one of his better games of the season. He scored 25 PTS with 5 AST and shot an efficient 7/13 including 5/8 from 3.

Anthony Davis was ridiculous, scoring 26 PTS on 11/12 shooting to go with 12 REB 5 AST 2 STL 2 BLK. The Clippers did their best to keep the ball out of his hands all night, a strategy Monty should get used to seeing.

Hopefully the team can figure out how to feed Davis the ball more creatively during the weeks of the season. After all, there is no other player in the league who can casually convert 90%+ from the field.

Alexis Ajinca tallied up a double-double in Asik’s absence with 11 PTS 10 REB, but was totally dominated by the much larger Deandre Jordan.

Mar 22, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) shoots past New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the second quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Clippers notched a 46-28 advantage in points in the paint.

They found easy ways to score all night, dashing to a 21-8 fast break point advantage and 30-16 points off turnover advantage.

The Clippers took much better care of the ball all night, ending with a 10-18 turnover advantage.

Earlier in the afternoon the Thunder crushed the Heat 93-75.

Westbrook continues to make an undeniable argument for the MVP, with another casual 12-17-10 triple-double.

In a blink of an eye, Oklahoma City has opened up a three game lead on the Pelicans for the final playoff spot.

Phoenix, who seemed to be out of the picture, have showed signs of life and are suddenly even in the standings with the Pelicans at 37-33.

This was the Pelicans third-straight loss, who head home for a few days of rest before facing Southwest division rival Houston on Wednesday.

The Pelicans are fading fast — and the chance of earning a Playoff spot in 2015, is hardly visible at this point……

Next: What Will Change When Ryan Anderson Returns to the Pelicans?