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New Orleans Pelicans exorcise late-game demons behind 46 points from Anthony Davis to beat L.A. Clippers in clutch time, 121-117

It took an eye poke, a shoe toss, and a rotation tweak to do it, but the Pelicans were able to leave an opposing building victorious.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Pelicans faced a hungry Clippers team on a two-game losing streak, looking for a pick me up, and New Orleans inconsistencies with effort, defense, and ball security appeared to be just what the doctor had ordered. As frequently seen this season, the Pelicans went through stretches where they looked quite dominant, and had others where they looked lost or a bit uninterested. Nights like these often ended in losses for the Pelicans.

Monday night ended in a spectacular 121-117 win.

Led by a ridiculous 46 points from Anthony Davis and a pummeling 27 from Julius Randle, the Pelicans answered the call every time it seemed the Clippers were ready to grab hold of the matchup. And let’s not forget the grit Jrue Holiday showed on a rough night shooting from the floor (8-for-24), finishing with 19 points, eight assists, and some clutch defensive plays ending his night with two blocks and three steals.

For the Clippers, the three-point contest came to L.A. early as they connected on 18 of 36 attempts. And while super professional scorer Lou Williams had a rough night from the field, forwards Montrezl Harrell, Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari all totaled at least 21 points for the contest.

Adversity was the name of this game, and both teams showed up multiple times. This rare time, however, the Pelicans remained the last team standing. Here are some observations from the incredibly fun victory.

Pels had great energy and ball security.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

From afar, New Orleans appeared to have an extra bounce in their step the minute the ball was raised. Especially on the defensive side of the ball.

The Clippers were able to rely on their deadly perimeter shooting as they’ve done all year (4th in the NBA) to keep things interesting. But there’s no denying NOLA came out hungry and motivated, and that energy produced some of their best defensive performances of the season in stretches that mattered most.

The Pels forced 16 Clippers turnovers as they only coughed up six themselves. You heard that right...SIX! That’s half a quarter’s worth in some games for the Pelicans. If they can play with this type of consistent intensity while taking care of the basketball, New Orleans can truthfully hang with the best — and beat them.

The 3rd Quarter was as advertised.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

When you look at the point per game by quarter averages for the Clippers and the Pelicans, the two surprisingly mirror each other. If you find one, the other isn’t too far further down the list.

Until you get to the third quarter that is.

Jokes aside, both teams lived up to their reputations as the Pels were up by as much as 20 points in the third quarter, leading 92-72. The game looked on its final legs, but Los Angeles immediately stormed back and made NOLA sweat with a 21-2 run in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the Pelicans recovered enough to hang on for the griping win so that cushion created in the third quarter was probably a huge reason for that.

Points in the Paint: A Brow and a Bull

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

What’s an artist who doesn’t enjoy paint you ask? For a while, that artist was the Los Angeles Clippers. They struggled immensely with stopping the penetration of New Orleans inside as evidenced by a 68-40 beatdown of the points in the paint battle.

It was an outcome that we arguably should not have been surprised to witness.

A fierce inside attack can demoralize a defense similar to a powerful running attack in football. Although some attempts can look prettier than others.

Randle’s work however is almost child’s play in comparison to Anthony Davis’ night. Davis delivered anywhere he chose Monday night as the Clippers didn’t have one defender tall, quick, or strong enough to pose a consistent challenge after a rough start. One that Davis was able to acknowledge.

Hell, even with a lost shoe the Brow found a way to burn the Clippers.

Face-ups, hook-shots, jumpers, or dribble drives — AD had it all in his point domination bag Monday. He even iced the game with consecutive trips to the free throw line, each time pushing the Pelicans lead back up two scores.

What a performance!

The rotation changes for the good...partially.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

As a head coach you must have eyes down every alley and ears at every door. Alvin Gentry seemed to check both boxes as a few favorable rotation switches for the game brought a lot of smiles.

In addition to Jahlil Okafor’s minutes, former starting point guard Tim Frazier didn’t log his first minute in weeks.

All wasn’t smooth, but the change seemed to be welcomed and successful as NOLA didn’t seem to miss his contributions overall. It’ll be interesting to see if this was a sign of the future, or just a specific game plan switch. We’ll be watching.

For every smile, however, there’s a frown. Another close game ended with starting point guard Elfrid Payton sitting on the bench.

Maybe there’s a side to this story that we’re missing or a blessing that hasn’t arrived yet, but for a team desperate for late game playmakers and overall calm in the clutch, it would be nice to see Elf, who is now off the shelf, off the bench and on the floor to close out games.

That’s a wrap for our recap, hope you enjoyed it. Look out for our upcoming preview of the Pelicans next opponent as New Orleans continues it’s road trip with a stop in Golden State to take on the defending champion Warriors in a playoff rematch.

Geaux Pels!