NBA: Pelicans beat Clippers for third time this season
Brandon Ingram scored 36 points, Jonas Valanciunas had a double-double and the host New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 122-114 on Saturday night.
The Pelicans (40-38) won for the seventh time in eight games to move into sole possession of seventh place in the Western Conference and tied the sixth-place Clippers (41-38) in the loss column while completing a three-game sweep of the season series.
Valanciunas had 23 points and 12 rebounds, CJ McCollum and Trey Murphy III scored 19 points each and Herbert Jones Jr. had 12.
Kawhi Leonard, who played in games on consecutive nights for the first time this season, scored 40 points with eight rebounds, and Russell Westbrook finished with 24 points and nine assists. Ivica Zubac netted 15 points and Norman Powell chipped in 12 for Los Angeles.
A big game with big performances 👏
Brandon Ingram (36 PTS, 8 AST) and Kawhi Leonard (40 PTS, 8 REB) dueled in a matchup with huge postseason implications! pic.twitter.com/Zc0aIa2tSO
— NBA (@NBA) April 2, 2023
The Pelicans made 31 of 35 free throws and the Clippers made 19 of 23.
The third quarter featured eight ties and 11 lead changes, the last when Ingram converted a three-point play with 8.4 seconds left to give New Orleans a 91-90 lead.
Valanciunas led the Pelicans with 15 points in the period and Ingram added 11. Leonard had 14 for the Clippers.
New Orleans began the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run, taking a 99-92 lead on Dyson Daniels’ tip-in.
Bones Hyland stopped the run with a jumper, and Leonard added a 3-pointer to get the Clippers within two points.
They got within two points again before Ingram and Murphy made consecutive baskets to give the Pelicans a six-point lead midway through the period.
Leonard’s 3-pointer cut the lead in half, but Ingram made three jumpers to help New Orleans open a 117-109 lead with less than two minutes remaining.
Westbrook scored five points and Powell four during a 9-0 run that gave the Clippers an 18-9 lead.
McCollum’s layup ended the run, but Los Angeles opened a 12-point lead before Ingram’s jumper trimmed the lead to 31-21 at the end of the first quarter.
The Pelicans outscored the Clippers on free throws 12-4 in the second quarter, McCollum scored 13 points in the period and New Orleans closed within 56-55 at halftime.