Herbert Jones defends vs. Reggie Jackson

Panzura postgame wrap: Pelicans 113, Clippers 89

Pelicans (16-26), Clippers (21-22)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Herbert Jones blanketed the Clippers at every turn. When Jones and New Orleans’ surging first unit checked out of the game for a breather, Jose Alvarado and crew provided in-your-face defense off the bench.

For a third straight time this season, New Orleans rode stingy defense and some potent three-point shooting to a victory over LA. The Clippers averaged only 92.5 points against the Pelicans in their previous losses, then saw that number drop further when they managed just 89 points Thursday.

New Orleans’ preferred starting lineup improved to 10-5, jumping on the Clippers immediately in a wire-to-wire win. The Pelicans led 24-7 early, partly by going 5/7 from three-point range.

“Just team defense,” Jonas Valanciunas described of what was successful at that end of the floor. “We helped each other, stuck with the coverages, played till the end (of possessions).”

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Brandon Ingram drilled a mid-range pull-up jumper, giving New Orleans its biggest lead to that stage at 81-53 with 2:37 remaining in the third quarter. Clippers coach Ty Lue expended another timeout to try to quell a run by the hosts, who kept expanding it after a 28-15 first quarter. Ingram sank a high-degree-of-difficulty jumper against an expiring shot clock to make it 87-63 at the end of three periods.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

New Orleans played so well across the board that numerous players could’ve been selected for this, but give it to Valanciunas, for recording a double-double and being instrumental to a 3-0 Pelicans record vs. the Clippers so far this season (one April matchup remains at the Crypto.com Center). Ingram seemed to answer every notion the Clippers may have had of trying to make it a game Thursday by scoring a bucket.

BY THE NUMBERS

26.2: Clippers shooting percentage in the first half, lowlighted by 2/18 three-point accuracy.

6: Pelicans turnovers. They almost had a 4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio by dishing out 23 assists. This was a big edge for the hosts, because the Clippers coughed up 15 turnovers, leading to 23 New Orleans points.

7-2: New Orleans home record since Dec. 10. The only losses in the Smoothie King Center during that span were to Utah and Phoenix.

REVISITING FANDUEL KEYS TO THE GAME

HIT THE BOARDS

New Orleans won the rebounding battle by 12 apiece in the first two meetings against LA and prevailed by 11 on Thursday. The Pelicans entered the game third in rebounding percentage, while the Clips were third-worst.

STAY HOT

New Orleans followed up its 128-point, 16-trey performance vs. Minnesota two nights earlier with 87 points through three periods (and a dozen threes). The Pelicans cooled off slightly in the fourth quarter, but still had plenty of offense to sweep the brief homestand 2-0.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Jones again displayed some of his shutdown defensive ability by going up against Clippers sparkplug Reggie Jackson, who was scoreless and shot 0/5 in the first half. Jackson finished 2/11 and only scored five points, replaced in the fourth quarter by Xavier Moon. Meanwhile, NOLA’s Devonte’ Graham scored 13 points, mostly on 4/10 three-point shooting.

#THURSDAYTHREES

For the second straight Thursday, Jones provided a win, this time with radio host Daniel Sallerson picking the rookie, who exceeded his season average in three-pointers by making two. The other picks were (in order of selection): Alvarado (Erin Summers), Josh Hart (Jim Eichenhofer) and Ingram (fans). Hart also sank two treys, but his season average was higher than Jones’ going into Thursday. Season standings: Erin 2, Daniel 1, Jim 0, Fans 0.

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