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Blake Griffin leads Clippers to victory against Anthony Davis and Pelicans, 114-96

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An early 9-point lead for New Orleans was quickly erased by another Davis’ injury and a hot-shooting (and very much wide open) opponent.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at New Orleans Pelicans Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans fell to the Los Angeles Clippers, 114-96. After building a 44-35 lead in the second quarter, it was all Los Angeles for the rest of the game. By and large, the Pelicans dared the Clippers — sometimes by choice, but oftentimes not — to beat them from the perimeter and they happily obliged.

After registering 31 points or more in 4 straight games, Anthony Davis was held to 21 points and 6 rebounds in 32 minutes of action. Before the start of the second quarter, he left for the locker room and was deemed questionable to return with a right shoulder injury. Fortunately it wasn’t his former torn-labrum left shoulder and he was able to return with 2:57 left in the frame. Interestingly the camera caught him on the bench in the second half with the medical staff wrapping support around his ribs to presumably hold a heating pad underneath his arm pit.

**Update: Mystery solved

Davis’ counterpart, Blake Griffin, wound up the biggest difference maker on the floor. Although Griffin finished with just 27 points and 10 rebounds, each and every one of his made jumpers felt like daggers because a) they were always open looks and b) the Pelicans, especially Davis, never attempted to guard him closer. According to post-game comments, this was by design.

Not sure why the coaching staff never seemed to adjust. Playing the percentages?

Once the Clippers seized control of the game in the second half, the Pelicans failed to mount a significant charge. The closest New Orleans got in the 4th quarter was 10 points, but Doc Rivers promptly brought Griffin and Chris Paul back into the contest to remove all doubt.

Before tip-off, many felt the rest advantage would significantly benefit the Pelicans but throughout the entire game, the Clippers looked like the fresher, more energetic squad. That happens when so many shots are of the uncontested variety and one need to look no further than Luc Mbah a Moute. Their starting small forward scored 15 points — tying his season-high — and made 3 of his 4 three-point attempts — a new season-high. For his career, Mbah a Moute is just a 30.9% from beyond the arc, but when you’re as wide open as he was in the game, go ahead and throw that percentage out the window.

Oh, and that Chris Paul guy? 17 points, 13 assists, 8 rebounds and another controversial foul that caused fans to hate on him once more.

The loss snapped the Pelicans 5-game home winning streak, and up next are the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Sunday. New Orleans is going to have to obviously play better if they want to improve upon their 2-7 away record.

Game Notes

  • For the first time this season, Jrue Holiday was invisible, scoring 9 points on 12 shots. He couldn’t get it going when the team needed him to be that second scorer.
  • His backcourt mate, Tim Frazier, wasn’t any better, missing 4 of his 6 field goals and 4 of his 8 free throws. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Frazier would be better suited to be the team’s point guard off the bench. The team needs a player who can push the ball with the reserves while the starters could use another knock down shooter from the perimeter with Omer Asik and Solomon Hill in the starting lineup.

{Not so subliminal message}

Please.

Start.

E’Twaun.

Moore.

  • Speaking of E’Twaun Moore, he scored 15 points (7-12 from the field) and added 4 rebounds, 2 assists and even 1 block in — get this — 19 minutes. Why did he play so little?
  • Terrence Jones finished with 14 points and 9 rebounds and was a much better choice than Asik on the floor tonight.
  • Anthony Brown totaled 25 minutes and had some flashes, but he proved once again he’s far from a marksman.
  • Meanwhile Buddy Hield entered once more in garbage time. Oomph.