The Los Angeles Clippers needed a win to get back on track, and they took full advantage of a depleted Pelicans team on Saturday night, cruising to a 133-105 victory at Staples Center.
Despite Blake Griffin sitting out with a sore left knee, the Clippers offense purred to a victory behind Chris Paul’s historic performance.
Paul led the Clippers with the first 20-20 performance of his career, becoming the first player since turnovers were recorded in 1978 to have 20 points and 20 assists with zero turnovers. Jamal Crawford added 22 points off the bench, while Marreese Speights scored 17 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds; Deandre Jordan had 19 points and nine rebounds.
Austin Rivers started in place of Blake Griffin, who sat out with a sore left knee. Rivers scored 18 points, including four 3-pointers before leaving the game in the third period after taking what appeared to be a swipe to the face.
The game was relatively close throughout the first half, with the Pelicans sticking around behind double digit scoring from Solomon Hill, Tim Frazier and Cheick Diallo.
Los Angeles would pull away in the third quarter, thanks in large part to Austin Rivers trio of 3-pointers and seven points from Marreese Speights. The Clippers would go on a 32-19 run in the decisive period.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers cited the teams recent practice as a source of positive momentum moving forward.
“A lot of times you have a great practice and it doesn’t translate right away,” Rivers said after the game. “I thought yesterday was the start of how we played tonight.”
Terrance Jones scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds for the Pelicans, who lost their fifth straight game. Tim Frazier had 20 points and 11 assists; Buddy Hield added 15 points and five assists.
Pelicans leading scorer Anthony Davis did not play due to rest concerns.
The Clippers are now 17-7, tied with the Houston Rockets for third place in the Western Conference. Los Angeles will face the Portland Trailblazers in their next game on Sunday, December 12.
Joey Thomas is a Los Angeles native and an NBA junkie. Follow him on twitter and instagram @joeythomasss