The Pelican Blog

Clippers forward Blake Griffin glides to the rim between Pelicans defenders Alexis Ajinca (left) and Jeff Withey (5)

Pelicans.com postgame: Clippers 108, Pelicans 76

By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer

LOS ANGELES – Seeking a major Western Conference upset, the New Orleans Pelicans couldn’t possibly have experienced a worse start to Saturday’s game against the Clippers. Anthony Davis picked up two quick fouls. On the other end, the Pelicans were turning the ball over at a rapid rate, jump-starting a Los Angeles transition attack that didn’t need any help. Just as damaging, New Orleans had one of its worst shooting first quarters of 2013-14.

For most of the night at Staples Center, not a whole lot changed on any of those three fronts. Davis was limited to a total of just 21 minutes after he was whistled for a fourth foul early in the second half. The Pelicans (23-36) finished with 22 turnovers, which the Clippers (41-20) turned into a 25-2 advantage in fast-break points. New Orleans finished at just 32.9 percent shooting from the field.

The result was a wire-to-wire Clippers victory, with the hosts grabbing their first double-digit lead just four-plus minutes into the game. Los Angeles outscored its guests in all four quarters, starting with a 30-17 push in the initial dozen minutes. New Orleans finished with a season-low 76 points and dropped its third straight game on a season-long five-game road trip.

Among the few offensive bright spots for the Pelicans was Tyreke Evans, who tallied 22 points in just his second start this season. Austin Rivers registered a season-high 19 points.

“We didn’t come ready to play,” Pelicans Coach Monty Williams said of a sluggish start that set the tone for Saturday’s game. “That’s my responsibility, but it’s also the responsibility of our team, especially the leaders of our team. Our starting unit collectively was not ready to go tonight. Tyreke gave us a lot of juice, but outside of that, we didn’t have much of anything from our starting unit.”

“Pretty bad,” Davis said succinctly of the team’s performance. “We just played bad. (The Clippers) were more physical than us. We played soft tonight, and that started with our first unit. You can’t come out playing soft against a team like that.”

Los Angeles led 79-56 through three quarters and threw down several highlight-reel dunks en route to putting the game completely out of reach. The Clippers built their biggest lead of 35 points with just over two minutes remaining.

“It’s never fun to lose like that. This has to hurt,” Rivers said. “This has to bother you. I don’t mind losing when you put everything out there, but it’s a bad feeling when you lose and you just feel like your team didn’t give the best.”

The Pelicans will travel to Sacramento on Sunday, then face the Kings on Monday in stop No. 4 of the five-game Western trek. New Orleans has not won since serving as the host city for the All-Star Game.

“As a unit, the guys are frustrated, obviously,” Williams said. “This is the worst loss we’ve had this year. The character in our locker room is going to have to respond, instead of just talking about it.”