EditorsNote: Resending per client’s request
Big men power Pelicans past Clippers
NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Pelicans had trouble hanging on to the basketball, but when they did they were difficult to defend.
The Pelicans turned the ball over 23 times, leading to 33 Los Angeles Clippers points, but they still came away with a 111-103 victory Saturday night in the Smoothie King Center.
“We were up the entire game,” said forward/center DeMarcus Cousins, who led New Orleans (7-6) with 35 points and 15 rebounds. “Imagine what we can be if we take care of the basketball? I was the main culprit with the turnovers.”
Cousins turned the ball over eight times and guard Jrue Holiday turned it over seven as the two of them combined for three more than the entire Clippers team. New Orleans had not turned the ball over more than 13 times in any of its previous four games.
“We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball,” Cousins said. “It didn’t hurt too much tonight because we still won, but if we keep it up it’s going to hurt us later.”
The turnovers were offset to a large degree by New Orleans’ shooting -- 53.8 percent, compared to 40.7 percent for Los Angles (5-7).
Cousins added 15 rebounds, Davis had 10 boards and E‘Twaun Moore scored 18 points as the Pelicans won for the fourth time in five games while ending a two-game losing streak at home.
“We’ve got to take care of home-court,” Davis said. “That started tonight.”
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 26 points. Austin Rivers scored 19, Lou Williams had 14, DeAndre Jordan added 12 points and 14 rebounds and Jawun Evans scored 11 points.
“It was in reach,” Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers said. “We didn’t execute down the stretch. Down the stretch, they executed a little bit better than us. That’s something we need to do better on.”
The Clippers finished an 0-3 road trip with their fifth consecutive loss. They are 1-7 since starting the season 4-0.
”We have got a lot of games left and we are going to figure it out,“ Austin Rivers said. ”I have no doubt in my mind. We are two games below .500. Good news is there are a lot of other teams in the same situation. If we win two or three in a row, we are right back in the eight spot or seventh spot wherever we are at.
“If we start to string them together, we will be right back in the playoff picture. We have plenty of time. This is not the time to panic or keep your head down. We are too good for that.”
The Pelicans led by five points at the half, but Griffin scored the first six points of the third quarter to briefly put the Clippers ahead.
Davis had a dunk and two free throws that started and ended an 11-5 run to give New Orleans a 74-69 lead.
Dante Cunningham and Cousins each made a 3-pointer as the Pelicans took an 88-82 lead after three quarters.
Los Angeles scored just two points during the first five minutes of the fourth quarter and New Orleans increased its lead to 94-84.
Rivers made three 3-pointers and the Clippers closed within 103-99 with 2:49 remaining.
Cousins passed to Moore for a layup and Cousins made a jumper that gave the Pelicans a 107-99 lead with 1:16 left.
The Pelicans took a 31-26 lead after the first quarter and maintained a lead after each subsequent quarter.
NOTES: The Clippers played without three injured starters -- G Patrick Beverley (knee), F Danillo Galinari (glute) and PG Milos Teodosic (foot). ... Los Angeles was not only completing a back-to-back, but tip-off (6 p.m. CST) came just 22 hours after tip-off for its game at Oklahoma City on Friday. Clippers coach Doc Rivers called the scheduling “ridiculous.” ... Pelicans G/F Tony Allen did not dress because of left knee tendinitis. ... New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said PG Rajon Rondo, out since the preseason because of a sports hernia injury, is expected back in “a week to 10 days at the most.”