By Mykell Mathieu
The Clippers start the game slow and run out of gas as the Pelicans defeat them, 116-109, for their final game in the In-Season Tournament group play.
Los Angeles came into the game on a three-game winning streak but from the jump the Pelicans looked like the better team.
The Clippers trailed by as much as 21-points in the first quarter. They finished the quarter trailing, 36-23.
Paul George & Norman Powell led a second quarter surge for Los Angeles finishing the half with 15 points apiece and cutting the deficit to one at the break.
The game was nearly even until a late fourth quarter run by the visiting Pelicans.
Zion Williamson scored a season-high 32 points (nine in the fourth) and former Laker Brandon Ingram added 30 points. The young duo was too much for the Clippers down the stretch.
“They’re great players. They’re going to have nights like this. They got it going early and once you make a few shots and you’re that great of a basketball player, it is just open range for you,” said Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, who finished the game with 20 points.
Williamson scored nine points in the final 12 minutes as the Pelicans improved to 3-1 in West Group B play.
George tried to keep pace by scoring the game-high 34 points with 8 rebounds but it wasn’t enough.
“I just thought offensively we didn’t get into a good rhythm. I thought we had a nasty flow all night,” said Clippers coach Tyronn Lue.
This loss eliminates the Clippers from the In-Season Tournament.
The Clippers look to put this loss behind them by picking up a victory tomorrow night at home against Luka Doncic & the Dallas Mavericks.