Jrue Holiday scored 36 points as the host New Orleans Pelicans spoiled Paul George’s Clippers debut with a 132-127 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday night.
Holiday broke out of a shooting slump to outduel George, who returned from offseason surgery on both shoulders to score 33 points in 24 minutes.
Frank Jackson added 23 points, Derrick Favors had 20 points and 20 rebounds, JJ Redick scored 19 and E’Twaun Moore had 15 as the Pelicans won just their third game of the season.
Lou Williams scored 31, Rodney McGruder had 20 and Montrezl Harrell added 18 for L.A. Kawhi Leonard, the other marquee offseason acquisition that helped make the Clippers championship contenders, did not suit up after playing 41 minutes in a 102-93 loss at Houston the night before.
The Pelicans led 72-59 at halftime but the Clippers cut the deficit to four as George scored seven of his team’s first 11 points in the third quarter.
L.A. got within one point three times before a three-point play by Williams gave them an 88-86 lead.
The score was tied three times before the Clippers took a 97-96 lead after three quarters.
There were five more ties before Holiday produced the seventh and final lead change of the fourth quarter by making a 3-pointer that put New Orleans ahead, 117-115 with 3:27 remaining.
Holiday made two free throws and McGruder made one before Holiday’s 3-pointer gave the Pelicans a 122-116 lead with 1:52 left.
George’s 3-pointer cut the lead to three in the final minute, but Jackson answered with a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left.
L.A. got within three one more time, but Redick made two free throws.
George led all first-quarter scorers with 10 points while playing slightly more than six minutes and making 4 of 7 shots. The score was tied seven times before L.A. took a 35-34 lead at the end of the period.
Holiday took over in the second quarter, making 6 of 7 field goals, including all three of his 3-pointers, to score 15 points. That helped New Orleans take a 72-59 halftime lead.
—Field Level Media